Indigenous Nations and Modern States: The Political Emergence of Nations Challenging State Power

By Rudolph C. Rÿser | Go to book overview

5
THE LABORATORY OF INTERNAL
POLITICAL CHANGE

Nations in relations to states are evolving new forms of political status that offer new prospects for nations and states to stop present and future conflict. The principle of subsidiarity, for example, has become a potentially useful concept in the European Union, which recognizes Fourth World nations’ authorities over economic, social and political spheres exclusive of state control. In particular, I point to Catalonia in Spain, the Lummi Nation in the United States, the Inuit of Greenland and the Miskito and their post-war (the war between Nicaragua and the Miskito, Sumo and Rama nations was ended in 1991) relations with the Nicaraguan government. Not only are there new forms of political relationship, but also new forms of political identity being created that can help nations and states deal constructively with each other, instead of combatively.

Table 5.1 below illustrates the several variations of political status that Fourth World nations have established or are on the way to establishing. These forms reflect the different state and nation circumstances, histories and structures and consequently a range of alternatives that have a modern feel to them. They are political relationships in dynamic evolution.

Many Fourth World Nations have been actively working to develop different forms of political relationships with nearby nations, and with states’ governments. Where formal arrangements have been made between nations or between nations and states to define a political status for nations inside the boundaries of a state, constructive and frequently cooperative efforts have followed. Where there had been war, political confrontations or legal battles, negotiated political status changes have introduced political stability. Where a framework for coexistence between competing parties has been mutually defined, stable political and economic conditions tend to prevail. Nations’ movement from confrontation to coexistence has created a political future for Fourth World nations that points the way to stable political development worldwide.


Realigning Global Relations

Instead of repeating the decolonization process, nations opened a new wave of resistance aimed at achieving fundamental political realignment. This goal

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