Politics of Indigenous development
DOI link for Politics of Indigenous development
Politics of Indigenous development book
Indigenous peoples constitute permanent and culturally unique minorities spread throughout the settler states of both North and South, characterized by prior claims to the territory they inhabit and an ongoing experience of colonization (UNDESA 2010a: 6). They do not have a formal political voice within the international state system, and must instead assert jurisdiction against powerful state institutions that have an interest in denying their political existence. This has meant that Indigenous marginalization and poverty have generally been classiﬁed as domestic social policy problems of settler states and neglected by the global community. However, over the past 40 years, Indigenous transnational activism has led to greater visibility of their claims. Recent milestones include the ﬁrst meeting of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII, in 2002) and the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). This global recognition makes it more diﬃcult for settler states to frame Indigenous poverty and political struggle as a strictly domestic issue. In this context, international organizations, state agencies and activists increas-
ingly seek to incorporate Indigenous communities into the international development paradigm. These communities are framed as ‘left behind’ by global development to date, and as economically deﬁcient in relation to dominant populations. In turn, they are thought to be in need of particularly intensive programmes to improve social conditions and economic participation. While Indigenous people have long been subject to developmental imperatives, and to concerted attempts to bring them into dominant societies (Buchan 2005), it is only in recent decades that the global apparatus of development, including international organizations, aid agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), environmental groups, consultants and technicians, have been mobilized in relation to Indigenous lives. This has been reinforced by more recent approaches that frame development in global rather than national terms (Edelman and Haugerud 2005: 17); while development was targeted at the nation-state, Indigenous struggles remained subsumed within the broader national projects. This reconceived development framework is generally understood as a more empowering, transnational and inclusive means of acting upon Indigenous disadvantage, which some argue addresses decades of neglect by settler states (see, for example, discussion of the Millennium Development Goals in relation to Indigenous people at UNDESA 2010a: 39). However, this chapter highlights the complex ways in which the development paradigm is implicated in ongoing colonial conﬂict.