Cultural Survival

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Cultural Survival
TypeNon-governmental organization
FocusIndigenous rights
Area served
US$ 2,571,083 (2018)

Cultural Survival (founded 1972) is a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, which is dedicated to defending the human rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Cultural Survival's work is predicated on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Cultural Survival engage opportunities to leverage our experience and leadership in advocacy, media, public education, programs, and in providing platforms to amplify and empower the voices of Indigenous Peoples as they work to claim their rights to self-determination, their lands, cultures, and precious ecosystems that are essential to the whole planet. Cultural Survival supports a movement of empowered Indigenous Peoples organizing their communities to engage the international processes, national policies and human rights bodies to respect, protect, and fulfill their rights. The organization is Indigenous-led and has a diverse board of directors bringing experiences from the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds to inform our perspectives and scope of work. Cultural Survival believes that vibrant and durable communities rest on the principles of self-determination, human rights, informed citizenry and access to information, the freedom of expression, and the right to organize and shape the future in a way consistent with one’s tradition, language, culture and community – and we believe Indigenous Peoples have the power and solutions to solve many of today's problems when respected and empowered to do so.

Cultural Survival was founded by anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis and his wife, Pia,[1] in 1972, in response to the opening up of the Amazonian and South American hinterlands during the 1960s, and the drastic effects this had on Indigenous inhabitants. It has since worked with Indigenous communities in Asia, Africa, South America, North America, and Australia, becoming the leading US-based organization defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cultural Survival has staff based in Canada, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, Nepal, and South Africa. Cultural Survival holds a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.[2]

Mission and Vision[edit]

Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience since 1972. Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

Programmatic Work[edit]

Since 1972, Cultural Survival has partnered with Indigenous communities to advance Indigenous Peoples' rights and cultures worldwide. The core of our efforts rest on the principles of supporting, amplifying efforts and raising awareness of self-determination for Indigenous communities. Cultural Survival employs a participatory, rights-based approach to our relationships that respects and strengthens Indigenous rights while honoring traditional Indigenous worldviews and lifeways. Our programs work to inform, create resources for, support access to information, bolster freedom of expression, and assist Indigenous communities to organize and shape their futures in ways consistent with their traditions, languages, cultures. Cultural Survival publicizes Indigenous Peoples' issues through our award-winning Cultural Survival Quarterly; it mounts on the ground campaigns and other advocacy efforts to stop environmental destruction and abuses of Indigenous Peoples' rights, always at the community’s invitation. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cultural Survival has staff based in Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nepal, Canada, and South Africa. Cultural Survival also holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Council since 2005.


  • Cultural Survival Quarterly magazine has covered Indigenous rights issues for over 40 years. Each issue includes feature articles focused on themes of concern to Indigenous peoples, as well as news pieces, interviews, and book reviews. All of the authors are Indigenous or are professionals who work closely with Indigenous Peoples.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Credo Reference - Maybury-Lewis, David H.P. b. 1929, Hyderabad, Pakistan
  2. ^ "Cultural Survival". Charity Navigator. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.

External links[edit]