The mission of Cultural Survival is to promote the rights, voices and visions of the world's indigenous peoples.
Founded in 1972, Cultural Survival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the human rights and successful futures of indigenous peoples throughout the world. As a research, direct-assistance, advocacy, and education organization with an award-winning quarterly magazine, a monograph series, special projects in fifteen countries, and a global network of indigenous scholars and activists contributing to its work, Cultural Survival defines its constituency very broadly to include: the world's 350 million indigenous peoples and their non-indigenous allies; 3,000 contributing members, both individuals and institutions; the growing number of primary and secondary school teachers and students who have attended CS conferences, ordered materials, or sent special inquiries (approximately 300 this year, 1,250 so far); the growing number of student volunteers trained by CS (approximately 50 each year, a total of 1,100 so far); and the growing number of community audiences reached through public events and discussions.
Cultural Survival is governed by a seventeen-member board of directors, together with its co-founders, David Maybury-Lewis and Pia Maybury-Lewis, who serve as the organization's president, and bazaar and internship coordinator, respectively. The full-time staff is headed by Managing Director Ian McIntosh.
Cultural Survival's three key program areas include:
Research — Through the Cultural Survival Quarterly and the organization's Web site, CS seeks to expand the knowledge base regarding indigenous peoples' struggles for economic, environmental, cultural, and political self-determination. CS publications share and help replicate successful strategies for community organizing, crisis management, and negotiation of positive outcomes among indigenous groups. At the same time, the Quarterly brings the central insight of anthropology — the value of other peoples' lifeways and world views — to a general readership, reaching libraries, bookstores, and newsstands throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Special Projects — By providing administrative support and tax-exempt status to indigenous groups, CS is able to help them pursue their independent initiatives. CS is currently sponsoring projects by the Ainu, the Dukha, the Maya, the Garifuna, the Xavante, the Ituri, the Higaonon, the Efe, and seven other groups who seek to obtain land rights, protect, and manage natural resources, market sustainable products, increase literacy, gather oral history, or promote health care in their communities.
Advocacy and Education — After a period of strategic planning in FY2000, Cultural Survival began linking its advocacy and education programs more closely in order to increase students' access to advocacy opportunities and to increase the education programs' benefits to our indigenous constituency. Bringing indigenous and non-indigenous activists, educators, and students together is the new linked program's primary goal. Multi-community collaborations have become the guiding principal for all CS conference and curriculum design.
provides a comprehensive overview of the organization's special projects around the world, current campaigns, and news; provides direct links to indigenous activists and scholars; contains the full contents of the award-winning Cultural Survival Quarterly; and details upcoming events.
As a non-governmental organization, Cultural Survival receives 60 percent of its total funding from its members. The remainder is the product of fundraising events, arts and crafts bazaars, grants, and the generosity of high donors. Advocacy and humanitarian support campaigns in over twenty countries are, likewise, supported by CS members, with 90 percent of moneys raised going to the project areas in Siberia/Mongolia (Dukha reindeer herders); Malaysia (Orang Alsi); Japan (Ainu); Australia (Aborigines); Brazil (Xavante); Philippines (Higaonon); Venezuela (Pume); and so on.