National Geographic : 2001 Sep
""EarthPulse HUMANS AND HABITATS Cultural Extinctions Loom Indigenous ways of life threatenedby assimilationpressures,loss of land Can dugout canoes and medicinal herbs withstand the cultural muscle of jets and cola drinks? About 300 million people in at least 5,000 distinct indigenous cultures still hold to their roots. But governments coerce minorities to modernize and join mainstream society, and economic interests appropriate their lands. Forests that sustained northern Borneo's Penan in the Malaysian state of Sarawak have been deci mated by logging. Of 7,000 Penan, all but 300 or so have given up nomadism and now live in settle ments. Civil war in Colombia puts nearly 10,000 Kogi in the line of fire, while the fewer than 2,000 Waorani of the Ecuadorian Amazon battle oil inter ests. In Kenya, 10,000 nomadic Ariaal herdsmen resist pressure to settle. On Arctic tundra more than 100,000 Inuit face environmental threats: Toxics from industrial countries are accumulating in fish, seals, walruses-traditional foods whose hunting and preparation nourish Inuit culture.