Survival is the only international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide. They were founded in 1969 after an article by Norman Lewis in the UK’s Sunday Times highlighted the massacres, land thefts and genocide taking place in Brazilian Amazonia. Like many modern atrocities, the racist oppression of Brazil’s Indians took place in the name of ‘economic growth’.
Today, Survival has supporters in 82 countries. They work for tribal peoples’ rights in three complementary ways: education, advocacy and campaigns. They also offer tribal people themselves a platform to address the world. They work closely with local indigenous organizations, and focus on tribal peoples who have the most to lose, usually those most recently in contact with the outside world. They believe that public opinion is the most effective force for change. Its power will make it harder, and eventually impossible, for governments and companies to oppress tribal peoples.
Survival International was founded in 1969 by a group of people appalled by the genocide of Amazon Indians detailed in a Sunday Times exposé.For several years, they had little or no income and were run by volunteers. They published information about tribal peoples’ problems, supported projects in their communities, and lobbied for their rights in international forums like the UN.
But quickly it became apparent that the only way to ensure the continued survival of tribal peoples was also to catalyse a groundswell of public opinion in their favour.That’s ultimately how all progressive movements foster lasting change, from stopping the slave trade two centuries ago, to destroying South African apartheid.
From the humble beginnings, the thousands of supporters around the world elevated the struggle to a global movement, with hundreds of concrete successes in the field.The movement has radically altered the outlook for tribal peoples in many parts of the world.
Survival International exists to prevent the annihilation of tribal peoples and to give them a platform to speak to the world so they can bear witness to the genocidal violence, slavery and racism they face on a daily basis. By lobbying the powerful they help defend the lives, lands and futures of people who should have the same rights as other contemporary societies.
A world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.