Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization

Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization

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John Ahni Schertow
March 8, 2009
 

For those of you just staring to get acquainted with Indigenous Struggles and the very nature of “Indigenous Resistance” – which is more about replacement and living life than it is about protesting – you may want to have a look at the book, “In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization.

It is currently (and rather ironically) available for free download at the Canadian Governments “International Development Research Centre” (IDRC) website: http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/004-7/.

About the Book

This volume is the product of a mutually enriching collaboration between Indigenous leaders, other social activists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. It explores what is happening today to Indigenous peoples as they are inevitably enmeshed in the remorseless expansion of the modern economy and development, subject to the pressures of the marketplace and government. It is particularly timely, given the growing criticism of free-market capitalism, and of development.

The volume assembles a rich diversity of statements, case studies of specific struggles and situations, and wider thematic explorations. All start from the fact that Indigenous peoples are actors, not victims. The accounts come primarily from North America, and particularly the Cree, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Chippewa–Ojibwe peoples who straddle the US/Canadian border. There are also studies of Indigenous peoples from South America, and even from the former Soviet Union.

The intellectual focus is on the complex relationships that develop between Indigenous peoples, civil society and the environment in the context of market- and state-mandated development. The volume shows how the boundaries between Indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society, the state, markets, development and the environment are ambiguous and constantly changing. It is this fact that lies at the heart of the political possibility of local agency, but also, ironically, of the possibility of undermining it.

The volume seeks to capture these complex, power-laden, often contradictory features of Indigenous agency and relationships. It shows how peoples do not just resist or react to the pressures of market and state, but also sustain ‘life projects’ of their own which embody local history and incorporate visions and strategies for enhancing their social and economic ways of living and their relationships to state and markets.

Thanks to John Hummel for the heads up.

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