As I wrote in Too Good to be True, Rebecca Adamson’s value to energy extraction corporations is that of broker, helping multi-national corporations to corrupt tribal leadership through corporate buy-ins. By making grants to tribes through investments in Adamson’s international NGO First Peoples Worldwide, Shell Oil and other notorious corporations pave the way for industrial development in the Fourth World.
As highlighted at Wrong Kind of Green, these corporate grants are intended to convert tribal conceptions of property rights from the traditional indigenous point of view to that of corporate states. While Adamson is devoted to getting better financial deals for tribal communities, her commitment to indigenous nations is overshadowed by her dependence on corporate wealth.
While extortion might be too strong a word to use in describing Adamson’s quid pro quo in whitewashing corporate development, her entrepreneurial brokerage is nevertheless a form of poverty-pimping akin to what the Black elite did during the Civil Rights Movement. While the Indigenous Peoples Movement is distinct, in that it is a human rights movement concerned with territorial sovereignty and political self-determination, the corporate strategy of co-optation and coercion are remarkably similar. Economically savvy, Adamson has positioned herself, her daughter and her NGO to profit from this strategy. Indeed, Rebecca Adamson Has a Plan.