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The Guarani of Paraguay have survived over four centuries of contact with the commercial system, while keeping in tact their traditions of leadership, religion and kinship. This concise ethnography examines how the Guarani have adapted over time, in concert with Paraguay’s subtropical forest system.
The titles in the Cultural Survival Studies in Ethnicity and Change series, edited by David Maybury-Lewis and Theodore Macdonald, Jr. of Cultural Survival, Inc., Harvard University, focus on key issues affecting indigenous and ethnic groups worldwide. Each ethnography builds on introductory material by going further in-depth and allowing students to explore, virtually first-hand, a particular issue and its impact on a culture.
Cultural Survival is an organization founded in 1972 to defend the human rights of indigenous peoples. They are faced with a similar situation to American Indians who have been dominated and marginalized by peoples different from themselves. Since the states that claim jurisdiction over indigenous peoples consider them as aliens and inferiors, they are among the world’s most underprivileged minorities. They face a constant threat of physical extermination and cultural annihilation. This is significant because indigenous people make up approximately five percent of the world’s population. Most indigenous people wish to become successful ethnic minorities, meaning that they be permitted to maintain their culture despite being out of the mainstream in their country. Indigenous peoples desire multiethnic states that tolerate diversity in their midst. Their cause equates those of ethnic minorities worldwide and is one of the major issues of our times because the vast majority of nations are multiethnic. The question is whether they are able to recognize and live peaceably with ethnic differences, or regard them as an endless source of conflict.
Cultural Survival works to promote multiethnic solutions to otherwise conflictive situations. It sponsors research, advocacy, and publications which examine situations of ethnic conflict, especially (but not exclusively) as they affect indigenous peoples and suggests solutions for them. It also provides technical and legal assistance to indigenous peoples and organizations. This series of monographs entitled “The Cultural Survival Series on Ethnicity and Change” is published in collaboration with Pearson/Prentice Hall. It focuses on ethnic problems in the modern world and how they affect the interrelations between indigenous peoples, ethnic groups, and the state. The studies will focus on situations of ethnic minorities' and indigenous peoples', who are a special kind of ethnic minority. They try to defend their rights, resources, and culture within modern states. Some of the volumes in the series will deal with general themes, such as ethnic conflict, indigenous rights, socioeconomic development, or multiculturalism.
These volumes will contain brief case studies to illustrate their general arguments. Meanwhile, the series as a whole plans to publish a larger number of books that deal in depth with specific cases. It is our conviction that good case studies are essential for a better understanding of issues that arouse such passion in the world today and this series will provide them. Its emphasis nevertheless will be on relating the particular to the general in the comparative contexts of national or international affairs. The books in the series will be short, averaging 100 pages in length, and written in a clear and accessible style aimed at students and the general reader. They are intended to clarify issues that are often obscure, misunderstood, and not treated succinctly elsewhere. It is our hope therefore that they will also prove useful as reference works for scholars and policy makers.