International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

mentioned, small-scale societies and industrialized ones do not use resources in the same way, nor do they both use the same range of resources. If the obligation to allow a people choice and control of their way of life is accepted as valid, then there may be negotiation of the relationship, to change it from adversarial competition to one of cooperative complementarity.

Negotiation, like consensus, requires that the participants have access to a common pool of information. Each must be enabled to know and understand the other's position and aspirations, and their reasons. It is also necessary that they proceed on a basis of mutual respect; at least to the extent of each recognizing the sincerity and validity of the other's position and aspirations. This is not a panacea. Factors like racism and the prevailing political and economic climate may not be conducive to conceding equality to indigenous peoples, and a history of oppression is a substantial obstacle to fostering their respect and trust of the dominant society. Nevertheless, the feasibility of the improbable was demonstrated by the granting of land rights to Australian Aborigines and the relinquishing of political power by white nationalists in South Africa. Negotiation, and the redefinition of the status and role of an indigenous people in the nation does hold the possibility of their gaining a measure of self-determination within the vernacular construction of reality.



Bain, Margaret, 1992. The Aboriginal-White Encounter. Towards Better Communication. Australian Aborigines and Islander Branch, Summer Institute of Linguistics Occasional Papers, Darwin, Australia.

Kent, Susan, 1989. "And Justice for All: The Development of Political Centralization Among Newly Sedentary Foragers". American Anthropologist 91:703-712.

Myers, Fred R., 1986. Pintupi Countly, Pintupi Self. Sentiment, Place, and Politics Among Western Desert Aborigines. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Sahlins, Marshall, 1965. "On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange". In The Relevance of Models for Social Anthropology. ASA Monographs 1. London: Tavistock.

Silberbauer, George, 1972. "Ecology of the Ernabella Aboriginal Community". Anthropological Forum 3: 21-36.

-----, 1981. Hunter and Habitant in the Central Kalahari Desert. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

-----, 1994. "A Sense of Place". In E. S. Burch and L. J. Ellana, eds., Key Issues in Hunter-Gatherer Research. Oxford: Berg.

-----, 1996. "Neither Are Your Ways My Ways". In Susan Kent , ed., Cultural Diversity Among African Foragers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Silberbauer, George, and Adam Kuper, 1966. "Kgalagari Master and Bushmen Serfs". African Studies, vol. 24, no. 4: 171 179.

Stanner, W. E. H., 1966. On Aboriginal Religion, Oceania. Monograph No. 11. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Turnbull, Colin M., 1972. The Mountain People. New York: Simon and Schuster.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, POLICY. Refers to government policies affecting indigenous, or native, people. Most countries in the world have indigenous minorities, people with prior histories of independence from national of imperial state control. One recent estimate suggests that there are 250 million native people, with 12,000 different cultures and social organizations. They include the better-known Maori of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Native Americans and Canadians, Australian Aborigines, the Arctic peoples of Russia, North America, and Scandinavia, and the Indian people of Central and South America. They also include other populations, such as the various hill tribes of Southeast Asia and the Negritos of the Central Malay Peninsula and the Philippines. The concept is now often extended to other national minorities with long-term historical or territorial ties, such as the Basques, the Palestinians, and the Kurds.

This entry focuses on the broad trajectories of government policies toward indigenous people within former settler colonies of the Western world. Though recognizing the partial nature and Eurocentric bias of such an approach, this writer considers that indigenous aspirations and historic wrongs these native peoples endured are starkly portrayed against the backdrop of Western democratic institutions.

The incorporation of the New World (along with the other parts of the post-Renaissance colonial world) into "Old World" historical processes is relatively recent. These places enter "history" as outposts, as places of plunder and expansion de novo. For the New World, this expansion is at once economic, political, military, demographic, and culture ( Wolf 1982). The colonies that were established became the settler societies of the New World ( Denoon 1983).

Claims to sovereignty and self-government are being voiced by indigenous peoples throughout the world. The claims of the indigenous peoples of the New World are modest when compared to the independence claims of other colonized people; in recent decades, they have been concerned with three issues: (1) retaining or, more often regaining, community rights, particularly to land and cultural processes; (2) obtaining civil and welfare equity within the wider society; and (3) achieving forms of communal political autonomy. The historical bases for these claims are prior occupancy of the territory; social and political sovereignty within that territory, which is separate from and independent of the political claims of the native people's colonizers; and the absence of cultural or political continuity between aboriginal ways of life, including sovereignty, and those of the colonizing state.


Indigenous people (also first people or aboriginal people), in contemporary political discourses, are identified as people


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