The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity

The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity

The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity

The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity

Synopsis

"Niezen's fascinating analysis explores indigenism as a key concept of present day international relations."--Jean-Loup Amselle, author of "Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere"

Excerpt

This book began as an article in Comparative Studies in Society and History (Niezen 2000a) with the title “Recognizing Indigenism: Canadian Unity and the International Movement of Indigenous Peoples. ” Much of the material from this article is reproduced here in various places (which I indicate in footnotes and for which I gratefully acknowledge the permission of CSSH), but the opportunity to expand it into a book has allowed me to put more historical emphasis on the global nature of the indigenous peoples' movement and to pay greater attention to such issues as cultural relativism, collective versus individual rights, and the legal/political implications of indigenous peoples' claims of self-determination. I have also more fully developed an approach to indigenous identity that emphasizes its recent origin and the creative uses to which it has been put. The study of indigenous identity is, in a sense, an ideal way to approach the formation of new categories of thought, social formation, and the human sense of self—ideal because the term itself is relatively new, actively used for only the past few decades, yet it invokes people's sense of perma-

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