Holding the Fire: Episode 4. Understanding Suffering and Knowing Our Place with Galina Angarova

October 24, 2023

Given the scope of the crises upon us, have you ever felt a yearning to learn more about living in a culture that is not based on extractivism, commodification, acquisition, and exploitation? It is plain to see at this point that the dominant culture on the planet is pushing us towards the ruin of all living beings. There has to be another way, a better way, right? 

It was this question that led me to Galina Angarova from the Lake Baikal region of Siberia. In addition to being the Executive Director of the NGO, Cultural Survival, Galina is a climate activist and a land rights activist. 


Understanding the human condition, understanding suffering, knowing our place on this beautiful and fragile planet, having our hearts broken, hurting, grieving, healing, and always, always having hope that we can overcome and thrive. It’s all of it. This is why we’re here. How can I be the best version of myself given the story I was born with and lift, and what can I do with it? It’s living the best way that I can, allowing life to happen to me, guided by my heart, caring for others, leaving behind something important after I’m long gone, and that’s how I tried to live those values that came from my ancestors, my grandmother. And that’s what the land has been teaching us all along.

In our conversation, Galina talks about what it was like being raised in an intact Indigenous culture and the values instilled in her from that time. She discusses the critically important role of ancestors, the effects of intergenerational trauma, and the critically important role of Indigenous women during this time of crisis on planet Earth. Galina believes Indigenizing is the antidote to colonization, and that the traditional knowledge of Indigenous people that came directly from the land itself is our only hope for a future. 

About Galina

Galina Angarova is a Buryat woman from the Lake Baikal region of Siberia. In addition to being the Executive Director of Cultural Survival, an Indigenous-led NGO that advocates for the rights of Indigenous peoples around the world, Galina is a climate activist and a land rights activist. Prior to her current position with Cultural Survival, Galina served as a representative of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group at the United Nations. She was also the Russia program director at Pacific Environment, where she organized direct actions against large resource extraction projects in Siberia and the Russian Far East.

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq as well as The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption and (with Stan Rushworth) We Are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth (both from The New Press). He has won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism and the Izzy Award. He lives in Washington State in the USA.