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Soft skills, hard rocks

Making diamonds ethical in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Lindsay A. Bell

In 2007, Canada was the third-largest producer of diamonds in the world. Marketed as ethical alternatives to ”blood diamonds,” Canadian gemstones are said to go beyond basic “conflict-free” designations by providing northern Indigenous peoples with high-wage work and training. This article makes two connected points. First, it describes how the ethics of diamond mining are connected to the uneasy management of people groomed to do extractive work. Second, following the development and delivery of job training programs for Indigenous people over the course of the financial crisis of 2008–2009, this article reveals how mandatory “soft skills” courses attempt to adjust would-be worker speech to meet corporate norms in ways that were essential in maintaining the ethical sign value of subarctic stones.

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Reformulating the Guatemalan State

The Role of Maya Intellectuals and Civil Society Discourse

Marta Elena Casaús Arzú

Guatemala's 1996 Peace Accords (particularly the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and the participation of certain Maya intellectuals in recent governments open new possibilities for indigenous peoples to see themselves as a nation and to provide that nation with ethnic-cultural content. However, the vision of the country's elite does not correspond to that of most Maya intellectuals. Some emphasize ethnic-cultural aspects and forms of ethnic autonomy while others have a more wide-ranging and pluralistic vision based on a more national and intercultural perspective. The process of providing the government with new and legitimate bases and the nation with cultural content merits study. This article examines this process based on interviews with Maya intellectuals and ladino leaders as well as the content of public speeches and essays.

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Anthropology and Law in Latin America

Towards Transformative Collaborations?

Rachel Sieder

As a researcher working within the field of collaborative or ‘engaged’ legal and political anthropology in Latin America, law does very much shape my research agenda and that of most of my colleagues. I would also contend that anthropology does impact law throughout the region, although to a much lesser extent. This is most evident in the legalisation, judicialisation and juridification of indigenous peoples’ collective rights to autonomy and territory in recent decades. Yet, the influence of anthropology on legal adjudication in the region is not only limited to issues pertaining to indigenous peoples: engaged applied ethnographic research is playing an increasingly important role in revealing to legal practitioners and courts the effects of human rights violations in specific contexts, and victims’ perceptions of the continuums of violence to which they are subjected.

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Introduction

Indigenous Methodology

Uliana Vinokurova

In this issue of Sibirica scholars from Sakha (Yakutia), Buryatia, Tuva, and Khakassiia present their research with a new paradigm in mind: an indigenous methodology facilitated and represented by indigenous peoples in Siberia. This methodology is aimed at bringing together the thinking, experiences, interpretations and interests of the indigenous peoples in cultural anthropology. The indigenous scholars whose work is published in this issue understand their own rich cultural, historical, and intellectual legacy, as well as its contemporary potential. These scholars do not only study their own cultures but also live within the communities, sharing the interests and anxieties of their people. This is why indigenous scholars often are political and social activists who speak on behalf of their own people. Many urgent issues present concerns for the indigenous peoples of Siberia, including industrial development and sustainability, modern challenges that affect cultures in the context of globalization, education and schooling, language development and preservation, and, perhaps most important, ecological transformations that affect the sensitive environments of Siberia. Tackling such significant issues requires partnership and cooperation between scholars from the West and indigenous scholars in their home countries.

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Svetlana A. Sukneva and Anastasiia S. Barashkova

This article presents the particularities of the formation and development of the population in the Russian northeast. It demonstrates that the negative balance of migration and natural growth reduction has become a key reason for the depopulation of the region, and a direct correlation has been established between fertility and mortality and the age structure of the population. The article also shows that the main trends with regard to marriage reflect the trends observed in the course of demographic processes; the deterioration of the marital status among the indigenous peoples of northeastern Russia is attributed to the narrowness of the marriage market.

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Fighting Invasive Infrastructures

Indigenous Relations against Pipelines

Anne Spice

In the settler colonial context of so-called Canada, oil and gas projects are contemporary infrastructures of invasion. This article tracks how the state discourse of “critical infrastructure” naturalizes the environmental destruction wrought by the oil and gas industry while criminalizing Indigenous resistance. I review anthropological work to analyze the applicability of the concept of infrastructure to Indigenous struggles against resource extraction. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Indigenous land defense movements against pipeline construction, I argue for an alternative approach to infrastructure that strengthens and supports the networks of human and other-than-human relations that continue to make survival possible for Indigenous peoples.

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Hunting for Justice

An Indigenous Critique of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Lauren Eichler and David Baumeister

Within the mainstream environmental movement, regulated hunting is commonly defended as a tool for preserving and managing populations of wild animals for future generations. We argue that this justification, encapsulated in the seven principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, perpetuates settler colonialism—an institutional and theoretical apparatus that systemically eliminates Indigenous peoples, expropriates Indigenous lands, and disqualifies Indigenous worldviews— insofar as it manifests an anthropocentric ideology that objectifies hunted animals as “natural resources” to be extracted. Because this ideology is antithetical to Indigenous views, its imposition through hunting regulation interrupts Indigenous lifeways, contributing to the destruction of Indigenous identity.

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David G. Anderson

This article gives an overview of the primary records of the 1926-1927 Turukhansk Polar Census Expedition. The author argues that rather than being an exercise in statistical surveillance, the expedition can be better characterized as a classical expedition of discovery. The article describes the structure of the expedition and the documents that were collected, places the expedition in a history of the surveillance of aboriginal peoples, and presents a research program for re-analyzing the data in light of the contemporary interests of Siberian indigenous peoples.

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Elizabeth Plumridge, Conal McCarthy, Kaitlin McCormick, Mark O'Neill, Lee Davidson, Vivian Ting, Alison K. Brown and Arkotong Longkumer

BENNETT, Tony, Making Culture, Changing Society

GOLDING, Viv, and Wayne MODEST, eds., Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration

KRMPOTICH, Cara, and Laura PEERS, eds., This Is Our Life: Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice

MESSAGE, Kylie, Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest

SCOTT, Carol, ed., Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures

SU, Xiaobo, and Peggy TEO, The Politics of Heritage Tourism in China: A View from Lijiang

VAN BROEKHOVEN, Laura, et al., eds., Sharing Knowledge and Cultural Heritage: First Nations of the Americas—Studies in Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples from Greenland, North and South America

WEST, Andy, Museums, Colonialism and Identity: A History of Naga Collections in Britain

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Claudia Mitchell

This issue of Girlhood Studies begins with a Special Section on Indigenous Girls as a critical area of scholarship and activism in girlhood studies. Recognizing the need for decolonizing perspectives and approaches, the guest editors, Kirstsen Lindquist, Kari-dawn Wuttunee, and Sarah Flicker offer a boundary-breaking collection. Apart from its being the first assemblage on Indigenous girls as far as we know, the Special Section is unique in several other ways. First, it is guest edited by an editorial team that includes two young Indigenous women, Kirsten and Kari-dawn, who are both members of the National Indigenous Young Women’s Council (NIYWC) and, as such, it draws on the strength of an organization of young Indigenous women. Second, it highlights the significance of community alliances as evidenced in the contributions of Sarah who has been working with Indigenous young people in Canada for over a decade. Third, acknowledging global solidarity amongst Indigenous peoples, as recognized, for example, in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,2 the collection includes submissions on Indigenous girls and girlhoods in Canada, South Africa, and Mexico. Finally, it is boundary-breaking in that it brings together different genres of writing and creative productions including articles, poetry, a personal essay, reviews (including one based on the contributor’s own familial oppression), an account of how and why a contributor set up a sexual health initiative, and a piece of Indigenous visual art, all of which support the endeavor of decolonizing knowledge in both theory and practice.