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DEFORESTATION: The greatest threat to the isolated Ayoreo

There is immense pressure on the forest inhabited by the Ayoreo people. In 2013, a report from University of Maryland revealed that the Paraguayan Chaco has the fastest deforestation rate in the

THE MEXICAN DRUG WAR: The peaceful Raramuri make easy prey for drug cartels

If you’ve watched the popular TV series Breaking Bad with crystal meth-making chemistry teacher Walter White, you are most likely aware that drug production and dealing acros

Under Pinochet's regime, more than 4,000 Chileans were executed or disappeared. Mapuche lands were reduced from 10 millions hectares to 400,000 hectares.

THE MAPUCHE PEOPLE: A history of resistance

The Mapuche are descendants of the Araucanians and the original inhabitants of Chile and Argentina whose history is steeped in resistance. Today, they constitute about 10% of the Chilean population, making th

Wechekeche Ñi Trawün – meaning “young people together” – is a Chilean Mapuche collective that fuses their musical heritage with modern-day urban beats in an effort to keep their ancient Indigenous culture alive. The organization was set up in 2005 by history teacher Axel Paillafilu and other founding members from Santiago. Group members meet up in their clubhouse on a regular basis to organize various activities relating to Mapuche culture, such as cooking, language teaching, history, palin pl...

KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS: Promoting and maintaining Hawaiian culture



Kamehameha Schools is a group of 31 private schools with three main campuses located on the islands of O’ahu, Hawaii and Maui. Educating students from preschool through twelfth grade, Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy favours applicants with Native Hawaiian ancestry. It was founded in 1887 by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the Kamehameha line, who left her estate - about 9% of the total acreage of Hawaii...

THE HOKULEA VOYAGING CANOE: Sailing in the wake of the ancestors



Meaning “Star of Gladness” in Hawaiian, the Hokulea is a double-hulled sailing canoe that was built in 1975 to re-create historic voyages and preserve ancestral culture. Since there were no existing examples of ancient voyaging canoes, artist Herb Kane based the design on drawings from the time of Captain Cook and other early explorers of the Pacific. Launched by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the full-scale replica has made a to...

HULA DANCING: A sacred ritual that evolved into commercial entertainment



Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance accompanied by Hawaiian music or singing. Most of us have seen images of sun-kissed hula dancers swaying their hips in grass skirts, but do you know about the origins of this art form? Legend has it that hula began when Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, wanted her sisters to entertain her with song and dance. Nowadays, it is a popular form of entertainment for tourists at luaus and is...

POI: An ancient superfood pounded to perfection



Poi is a nutritious Hawaiian superfood made from the corn of the taro plant. Traditionally, Hawaiians viewed poi as a life-giving and sacred food. A popular feature of Hawaiian luaus, poi was their staple starch, used to accompany a lomi-lomi salmon or pork dish. The potato-like taro, or kalo in Hawaiian, is first cooked then peeled before being hand-pounded on a wooden board into a greyish-purple substance called paiai. When water is added and the pai...

NATIVE HAWAIIANS: More than meets the eye



Did you know that Hawaiian pizza and pineapples don’t actually come from Hawaii? And those fun, flowery garlands used to welcome visitors to the islands? They are called lei and were traditionally used by chiefs as a symbol of peace agreements.



In fact, beyond the wave of Hawaiian clichés lies a rich yet little-known Hawaiian culture. Known as ‘kanaka maoli’, Native Hawaiians are descendants of the original Polynesian navigators who sailed to H...

THE ANCIENT ART OF SURFING: Riding ancient waves



Surfing is an Ancient Hawaiian tradition and one of the oldest sports still practiced in the world. Wave-sliding - he’e nalu - was a popular pastime in Hawaii long before the arrival of Europeans. Rather than considering it an extreme sport for adrenaline junkies, Ancient Hawaiians revered the art of surfing and made it an important part of their culture. They made their own board shapers and carried out a sacred ritual on the trees from which they ...