chapter  10
32 Pages

Indigenous rights or states’ rights: hydro-power in Norway and Québec

Hydro-power in Norway and Québec Indigenous rights and states’ rights

Conflicts over resource management strategies between nation states, subnational authorities and indigenous peoples in remote parts of national territories have been common in many jurisdictions over recent decades. Capitalism’s long boom in the post-war period facilitated greater penetration of isolated hinterlands previously left to indigenous peoples. This neo-colonial penetration often occurred in periods when economic nationalism was high and tolerance of ethnic or cultural difference was low – periods when the links between nationalism, industrialisation and developmentalism were being reinforced. In many places, resource projects were central to nationalist ideologies and state efforts to forge a stronger and more unified national identity. Such circumstances were hardly conducive to recognition and protection of indigenous rights in these resource-rich areas. Whatever the particular circumstances of the expansion of the resources frontier into new indigenous territories, the specifics of the relationship between the nation state and the affected indigenous peoples was an important element of the development process. Factors influencing this relationship are many and varied:

• The extent to which indigenous rights were previously recognised, protected or respected

• The nature of post-colonial institutions • The extent to which indigenous identities were possible • The extent to which peoples’ political economy provided a robust or vul-

nerable foundation for resistance prior to resource-related development intrusions

• The nature and extent of previous colonial and neo-colonial intrusions and their impacts

• The existence and independence or dependence of representative organisations (inter alia).