ABSTRACT

The conduct of social, economic, political and strategic analysis of relations between nations and states is the subject of a growing fi eld of study and practice that I call Fourth World geopolitics. A small number of scholars and activists including myself, Bernard Nietschmann, John Bodley, David Hyndman, Sharon Vene, Robert Coulter, Mililani Trask, Glenn Morris, Christian Nellemann and Richard Griggs in the United States, Canada and northern Europe began in the early 1970s and 1980s to recognize the emergence of indigenous nations as a growing political phenomenon with internal-state as well as global implications. Applying new understandings about the political infl uence of indigenous nations on the stability and continuity of existing states grew in importance as some states began to teeter out of control when nations actively opposed state policies. Understanding the effects of states’ government social, economic and political policies on indigenous nations became increasingly important, as confl icts with indigenous nations grew more intense. The importance of indigenous nation re-emergence from the shadows of state dominated global policies became more apparent when the United Nations began to offi cially inquire into the rights of indigenous peoples with the UN Commission on Human Rights’ designation of Martinéz Cobo to study the “situation of indigenous peoples” in 1973. Global concerns such as climate change, intellectual property rights and sustaining biodiversity and the rise of low intensity and medium intensity asymmetrical warfare increased the need for clear and thoughtful analysis of nation and state relations. “Wars on terrorism” conducted inside and outside states such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia inevitably entangled indigenous nations. The inability of states’ governments to effectively address the selfdetermination, environmental, economic and cultural concerns of nations located inside their boundaries exacerbated political tensions and social confl icts, resulting in the necessity of formalized relations between them. Fourth World geopolitics is a fi eld of study and practical analysis that provides a way to examine, mediate and predict present and future confl icts between nations and states.