on the story title for audio, photos and more information.
Street of the Cauldron Makers(aired
10/15/05 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday) Modern Turkey emerged in the 1920s
as a secular, westernized nation where the rule was always to look forward, never
back. But novelist Elif
Shafak says even where memories are buried, they have a way of rising to
the surface. Shafak takes us on a walking
tour of an Istanbul street, where the nation's battles over identity,
modernity, ethnicity and minority rights have played out in miniature over the
decades. Co-produced by Sandy Tolan and Melissa
the Water (web only) | Melissa Robbins } On the tangled braids of earth and marsh
that form the Mississippi Delta, the Houma Indians have lived for centuries,
isolated by water. But now the land is dissolving beneath their feet, and many
Houma fear that their unique culture will dissolve along with it. Some want the
tribe to move to higher ground. Others vow to remain until
the water takes them away. Melissa Robbins investigates.
the Peace(aired 07/17/05
on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday)
Burundi's Hutus and Tutsis practice the same religion
and speak the same language. Intermarriage is common. But decades of violence
have made even the most imaginary differences tragically real. In 2005, voters
in Burundi approved a constitution that requires the two groups
to share power. For the country's new leaders, that means unlearning bad habits. Marianne
McCune attends a retreat for the newly integrated national
Bhutan: Seeking the Middle
Way(aired 05/20/05 on NPR's Living on Earth)
Perhaps no country on earth has worked as hard as Bhutan to develop on its
own terms. For decades, the goal of the tiny Himalayan Buddhist kingdom has
been neither to keep pace with the rest of the world nor to hide from it, but
rather to increase what King Jigme Singye Wangchuck calls "Gross
National Happiness." Karen
Michel goes to find out how the Bhutanese are faring.
the week of 05/16/05 as part of the Public Radio Collaboration)
The Mutvitz cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico, sells
a portion of its coffee on the growing global "solidarity
market." The farmers, who are part of the Zapatista
rebel movement, see the coffee business as a way not
just to move forward economically, but to strengthen
their Mayan heritage.
Schreiber reports on a visit by American and European
Map of the Sea(aired 01/28/05 and
08/12/05 on NPR's Living on Earth)
For centuries, the Newfoundland fishery was hailed as the greatest in the world. Then, in 1992, the cod disappeared. Fishing was at the heart of the oldest non-aboriginal culture in the Americas. Now the islanders must find a way to keep that culture from going the way of the cod. Chris Brookes, who lives in Newfoundland, produced this meditation on memory, fishing, music and dance.
Saints and Indians(aired 01/23/05
on NPR's All Things Considered)
Between 1954 and 2000, tens of thousands of Native American children went to live with Mormon families during the
school year. For some, it was a chance to overcome the stresses of reservation life. For others, it was a repudiation of their identity. For everyone, it was a life-changing experience. Kate Davidson spent a year visiting former students, host
families and program officials. Her story was edited by Deborah
Cotopaxi Pilgrimage(aired 12/17/04 on NPR's Living on Earth)
For the Tigua Indians of Ecuador, the spectacular 19,000-foot Cotopaxi volcano is both a sheltering spirit and a source of artistic inspiration. But the Tigua stopped visiting their sacred mountain when the government declared it a national park and began charging admission. Recently two Tigua painters led an improvised pilgrimage to the volcano's glacier. Producers Nancy Hand and Alan Weisman went with them.
Kinvara: A Spirit of Place(aired 12/04/04 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday) For much of the 20th century, the town of Kinvara, on Ireland's west coast, was rich in charm but poor in just about everything else. Then the Celtic Tiger awoke. Today, Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world, and Kinvara is crawling with developers and speculators. As Frank Browning discovers, the boom has forced the townsfolk to ask tough questions about where they want their community to go.
Reindeer People (aired
11/26/04 on NPR's Day To Day)
About 40 percent of all Mongolians are nomads, but officials there say they want most of them to settle down. Lorne Matalon and Allan Coukell traveled to northern Mongolia to spend time with the Tsachin people, a band of about 200 reindeer herders. With their herds dwindling and government support disappearing, the Tsachin have to decide whether to abandon their ancient way of life.
Face of the Shaman (aired
11/25/04 on NPR's Day To Day)
For thousands of years, the Mongolian shaman has been the intermediary between the human and spirit worlds: part healer, part prophet, part historian, part priest. Shamanism was suppressed for 70 years under communism. Now it's back in the open, competing for customers in a market that's crowded with alternatives. Allan Coukell spends time with both traditional and modern shamans.
10/23/04 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday)
In the indigenous Mexican village of Yaganiza, Rebecca Long is translating
the New Testament into the local Zapateco language. Long works with
a Dallas-based Christian group that has helped document and preserve
hundreds of dying languages. But her presence—like the group
she works with—has not been without controversy. Producer
tells a complex story about language, religion, tradition and trust.
10/12/04 on NPR's Day To Day)
South Korea has gone through one of the most dramatic economic makeovers
of any country on Earth. Its transformation into an industrial powerhouse
has been accompanied by an equally dramatic spiritual shift.With
Christians now dominant in political and economic life, Buddhists
wonder whether they have a role to play in the country's future.
reports from Seoul.
on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday) In May 2004, eight Eastern European
countries joined the European Union, whose laws forbid child marriage.
Some Roma (or Gypsies) see this as a death sentence for their culture.
But not Gyula and Marika Vámosi of Pecs, Hungary. As Frank
Browning reports, their marriage began as a love story, but
turned into a campaign to change the world.
on NPR's All Things Considered) Two centuries ago, Napoleon declared
the language spoken in northern France the official language of
the republic. Since then, French has been at the core of national
identity. Now some southerners are challenging that notion, using
a blend of reggae, Brazilian rhythms and the musical forms of the
medieval troubadors. Julian
Crandall Hollick listens in.
08/16/04 on NPR's Day To Day) In Greece, the Orthodox Church
has always presented itself as the guardian of national identity.
But some in the Church don't think it's doing enough to protect
the country from western domination. The Free Monks is a rock band
made up of black-robed monks whose music rails against globalization
and the "New World Order." Jon
Millervisits them in their
monastery in central Greece.
Return of the Hellenes(aired 08/05/04 on NPR's Day To Day) More than 95% of all Greeks are Greek Orthodox.
But in the last few years there's been a revival of interest in
the pre-Christian past. For some, that means taking another look
at ancient Greek ideals like freedom, reason and democratic debate.
For others, it means worshiping the ancient gods. All say their
eyes are on the future. Jon
Miller attends their annual convergence on Mount Olympus.
the Zápara(aired the week of 07/30/04 on NPR's
Living on Earth) The Zápara people once ranged
far across the western Amazon. By the 1970s, anthropologists concluded
that their culture was extinct. But a handful of native speakers
survived in Ecuador and Peru. With help from UNESCO, the Zápara
are now trying to resuscitate their language and culture. But a
new danger looms. Alan
Weisman and Nancy
Hand go to see how they are faring.
Me WAI (aired 07/26/04 on NPR's
Day to Day) Musicians Mina Ripia and Maaka McGregor learned
to speak Maori in college, after the New Zealand government made
it an official national language. Now they're part of a new generation
of Maoris who have decided to move their culture forward rather
than leave it behind. Dmae
Roberts meets them at their home in Wellington.
the Hebrides, Parts I & II(aired
07/05/04 and 07/06/04 on NPR's Day to Day) Scotland's Outer Hebrides
are home to some of the purest Gaelic culture on earth—but
they're a tough place to make a living. That may be changing. In
Part I, Vera Frankl visits
"crofters" (small-scale farmers) who are finally taking
control of their land after centuries of working for absentee landlords.
In Part II, she looks at how the Internet is transforming the economy
and keeping the culture alive.
07/05/04 on NPR's All Things Considered) Bulgaria's Jews are survivors,
but the language they have spoken for centuries is in trouble. Since
the 1940s, Ladino—a mix of Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and several
other languages—has retreated from the streets to the kitchen
to the social club. Now it may be headed for the archives. Sandy
Tolan visits with some of Bulgaria's last Ladino speakers as
they try to keep the tongue from going silent.
Family Ties (aired 07/3/04
on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday) In Spain's Basque country,
tensions are high—not just between pro-independence Basques
and the Spanish government, but among the Basques themselves. Bay
Area filmmaker Victoria
Mauleón has always avoided political topics on her yearly
visits to her father's family near Pamplona. This time she packed
Imaginary Village (debuted 06/05/04
on Transom.org and PRX)
In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee
their homes to make way for the new state of Israel. More than 50
years later, the villages of Palestine remain intact in the imaginations
of refugees and their descendents. Produced by Sandy
Tolan and Melissa
Robbins. Original music composed and performed by Mohsen Subhi
Dreams(aired 04/21/04 on NPR's
All Things Considered)
Mexican migrants to the US send back billions of dollars to their
families every year, but their absence comes at a price. In many
parts of Mexico, families are divided, villages are half-deserted
and traditions are in danger of slipping away. Marianne
McCune reports on one tiny pueblo that is brewing up plans to
keep its people from leaving in the first place.
End Neighborhood(Aired 04/13/04
on NPR's Day to Day) Boston's North End is
bursting with Old World charm. But a proposed commercial development
has newcomers and old-timers at odds over the type of neighborhood
they want to live in. As Allan
Coukell reports, their positions aren't what you might expect.
on NPR's Morning Edition)
The Maasai people of Kenya have long
considered public education as a trick designed to rob them of their
culture. Now many see the schools as a key to survival—and
as a way to change some aspects of their culture that need changing.
Jon Miller reports.
the week of 03/02/04 on Common Ground Radio)
A generation ago, Singapore's Chinatown was a crowded and chaotic
place. Then the government renewed the life right out of it. Authorities
are working to restore the neighborhood's authenticity, but with
little success. Little India, meanwhile, has retained its distinctive
character. Is there a lesson here? Reese
Erlich goes to find out.
France's Republican Deal, Parts I & II(Aired 02/18/04 and 02/19/04 on NPR's Day
In France, the notions of liberty, equality and fraternity apply
to individuals, not groups. And indeed for more than 200 years,
members of ethnic and religious minorities have tried to integrate
as completely as possible. But today, French Muslims and Jews are
under tremendous pressure to declare their differences. Frank
Browning takes us into the worlds of the Alters, a Jewish family
from Toulouse, and the Chefegs, Muslims from the suburbs of Paris.
Ground: Borneo Resettlement(Aired the week of 02/17/04
on Common Ground Radio)
In the late 1990s, the government of Malaysia uprooted 15,000 indigenous
people to make way for the giant Bakun dam. Most were resettled
in "model" towns, where unemployment, drugs and crime
took root. About 400 members of the Kenyah tribe decided to build
their own resettlement center instead. Why does this model community
work better than the official ones? Reese
Home the Bones, Parts I & II(Aired
01/15/04 and 01/16/04 on NPR's Day To Day)
Coukell follows members of the Haida nation as they retrieve
the remains of more than 100 ancestors from a museum collection
in Chicago and carry them home for proper burial in the Queen Charlotte
Islands, off Canada's Pacific coast. It's a journey full of pain
and healing—and part of a worldwide movement among native
groups to reclaim what is theirs.
01/11/04 on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday)
Peasant farmers in Peru's central highlands grow hundreds of varieties
of potatoes, almost all for their own consumption. Now they're being
encouraged to sell them to high-end consumers. But potatoes are
more than just food in the Andes—they're part of a complex
spiritual, biological and cultural universe. Will the market change
that? Jon Miller
visits during the harvest.
Welsh Renaissance(Aired 12/25/03 on NPR's Day to Day)
Languages around the world are disappearing at an unprecedented
rate. But Welsh is making a comeback, and children are leading the
way. Today about 25% of all children in Wales attend Welsh immersion
schools. Now the challenge is to move Welsh from the classroom to
the living room. Jon
Miller spends a day with the Steel family of Clydach, a suburb
A Bridge Too Far?(Aired the weeks of
09/26/03 and 3/19/04 on NPR's Living on Earth)
The island of Chiloé, off the coast of Chile, is known for
its misty beauty, quaint architecture and distinctive cuisine. Now
Chile's government is proposing to build the longest bridge in Latin
America to connect Chiloé to the mainland. Islanders aren't
sure they want to be connected. Alan
Camisea: A Light in the
Jungle(Aired the weeks of 08/01/03 and
01/02/04 on NPR's Living On Earth)
For the native peoples of the Amazon, petroleum development has
often been an environmental and cultural nightmare. But in Camisea,
a huge natural gas deposit in eastern Peru, the oil companies say
they're committed to getting it right. The Machiguenga people aren't
yet convinced. Sandy
Tolan, Jason Felch
and Chris Raphael report.
To Perpetuate Life As
It Was Meant to Be(Aired 07/17/03 on
NPR's Morning Edition)
By almost every measure, native Hawaiians are the worst off of Hawaii's
many ethnic groups. One of the biggest problems is drug abuse. Jon
Miller visits Hoomau Ke Ola, a community treatment program that
looks to island traditions for a way forward.
Sarvodaya: An Alternate
Path?(Aired 07/13/03 on NPR's Weekend
Can development based on spiritual values, local activism and volunteer
labor compete with a global system built on western market economics?
From Sri Lanka, Sandy
Tolan reports on a 45-year old movement that seeks to improve
the lot of millions of poor people with self-help programs steeped
in Buddhist principles.
An Exodus of Women(Aired 06/24/03 on NPR's All Things Considered)
Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan women work abroad as housemaids,
mainly in the Middle East. Their remittances are a cornerstone of
their country's economy, and a desperately needed source of income
for their families. But what is the impact on Sri Lankan culture
and society? Sandy
Tolan travels to Jordan and Sri Lanka to find out.