Survival International
Survival International
By Films For Action /

Survival is the only international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide. We 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. We work for tribal peoples’ rights in three complementary ways: education, advocacy and campaigns. We also offer tribal people themselves a platform to address the world. We 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.

We 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’s education work

Our educational programmes aimed at people in the ‘west’ or ‘north’ set out to demolish the myth that tribal peoples are relics, destined to perish through ‘progress’. We promote respect for their cultures and explain the contemporary relevance of their way of life.

Survival’s educational work takes various forms, both inside and outside schools, for children and for adults. We provide free educational materials for teachers and students, and inform the interested general public through, books, conferences, photographic exhibitions and so on.

Visit Survival’s bookshop and order our free education pack.

Survival advocacy

We provide a platform for tribal representatives to talk directly to the companies which are invading their land. We also disseminate information to tribal peoples, using both community radio and the written word – telling them how other tribes are faring and warning them about the threats posed by multinationals. In this way, we give them access to the information they need to make their voices heard.

Survival also plays a major role in ensuring that humanitarian, self-help, educational and medical projects with tribal peoples receive proper funding. A good example is the Yanomami medical fund, which succeeded in virtually eliminating malaria in some Indian areas.

Survival campaigns

Survival runs worldwide campaigns to fight for tribal peoples. We were the first in this field to use mass letter-writing, and have orchestrated campaigns from Siberia to Sarawak, Canada to Kenya. In 2000, for instance, the Indian government abandoned their plan to relocate the isolated Jarawa tribe, after receiving 150-200 letters a day from Survival supporters around the world. Shortly before that, the governor of western Siberia imposed a five year ban on oil drilling in the territory of the Yugan Khanty within weeks of Survival issuing a bulletin. There have been many other successes.

Our campaigns are not only directed at governments, but at companies, banks, extremist missionaries, guerrilla armies, narrow minded conservationists or anyone else who violates tribal peoples’ rights. Survival was the first organization to draw attention to the destructive effects of World Bank projects – now recognized as a major cause of suffering in many poor countries. As well as letter-writing – which generates thousands of protests – we use many other tactics: from vigils at embassies, to direct lobbying of those in positions of power; from putting cases at the United Nations, to advising on the drafting of international law; from informing tribes of their legal rights, to organising headline-grabbing stunts. All our work is rooted in direct personal contact with hundreds of tribal communities.

How is Survival unique?

Survival is the largest organization, and one of the oldest, working for tribal peoples’ rights. It is also the only one which makes use of public opinion and public action to secure long-term improvement for tribal peoples. It is the only major organization in its field which refuses funding from national governments and depends on the public for its support – this ensures our freedom of action but also makes us stretch our scarce resources to the limit. Survival materials are published in many different languages throughout the world. Survival is a registered charity in Britain, with 501(c)(3) status in the US and the equivalent in France, Italy and Spain. We can also receive tax-free donations in the Netherlands.

Survival is the only international pro-tribal peoples organization to have received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, known as the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’, as well as the Spanish ‘Premio Léon Felipe’ and the Italian ‘Medaglia della Presidenza della Camera dei Deputati’. Most importantly, our work has been applauded by countless tribal peoples and their organizations throughout the world.

What does the future hold?

Since 1969, the ‘developed’ world’s attitude to tribal peoples has changed beyond recognition. Then, it was assumed that they would either die out or be assimilated; now, at least in some places, their experience and values are considered important. Survival has pushed tribal issues into the political and cultural mainstream. This, perhaps, is our greatest achievement of all, but there are many barriers of racism, tyranny and greed which we must still overcome.

3.3 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 12,620 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,430 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 1,897 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,840 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,707 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Mark Corske's Engines of Domination (2014)
60 min · 1,408 views today · Political power -- armed central authority, with states and war -- is it part of human nature? Is it necessary for human communities? Or is it a tool that ruling elites use to...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 1,388 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 878 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 845 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 763 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 641 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 627 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Gil Scott-Heron Deconstructs Colonialism and Black History in His Own Unique Style
3 min · 589 views today · His-Story: I was wondering about our yesterdays, and starting searching through the rubble and to say the very least, somebody went to a hell of a lot of trouble to make sure...
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 421 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 392 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 354 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 294 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
Are You Lost in the World Like Me?
3 min · 293 views today · Animated film by Steve Cutts for 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me?', taken from These Systems Are Failing- the debut album from Moby & The Void Pacific Choir. 
World's Low-Cost Economy Built on the Backs of 46 Million Modern Day Slaves
Deirdre Fulton · 260 views today · 'Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible.'
Life in Occupied Palestine (2009)
59 min · 236 views today · Anna Baltzer, a Jewish American, gives her eyewitness perspectives on average citizens living in occupied Palestine. Baltzer spent 5 months in the West Bank working with the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Survival International