Indigenous peoples throughout the world tenaciously defend their lands, cultures, and their lives with resilience and determination. They have done so generation after generation. These are peoples who make up bedrock nations throughout the world in whose territories the United Nations says 80 percent of the world’s life sustaining biodiversity remains. Once thought of as remnants of a human past that would soon disappear in the fog of history, indigenous peoples—as we now refer to them—have in the last generation emerged as new political actors in global, regional and local debates. As countries struggle with economic collapse, terrorism and global warming indigenous peoples demand a place at the table to decide policy about energy, boundaries, traditional knowledge, climate change, intellectual property, land, environment, clean water, education, war, terrorism, health and the role of democracy in society.
In this volume Rudolph C. Ryser describes how indigenous peoples transformed themselves from anthropological curiosities into politically influential voices in domestic and international deliberations affecting everyone on the planet. He reveals in documentary detail how since the 1970s indigenous peoples politically formed governing authorities over peoples, territories and resources raising important questions and offering new solutions to profound challenges to human life.
"Indigenous Nations and Modern States provides a refreshing, insightful – and needed – reframing of the international system, contemporary ethnic conflict, and the politics of indigenous peoples. The text brings to the analytical forefront the underlying tensions between surviving nations and national identities and the states that were constructed on top of them. As Ryser clearly elucidates, contemporary nation-states have not assimilated or vanquished the continuing attachment to non-state national identities, and this analysis facilitates a needed "un-thinking" of the inevitability, stability, and predominance of the unitary nation-state."
—Erich Steinman, Pitzer College
"In Indigenous Nations and Modern States, Ryser brilliantly describes how states have appeared and disappeared during the history of mankind. As states come and go, the Nations and Peoples persist over time, and the book gives a detailed description of the situation for the world’s many Nations and Peoples. In particular, the insight provided by Ryser into the relations between the American Indian nations and the early European settlers is eye-opening and differs greatly from the common 20th century version of those events. The book is an important contribution to both the survival of the Nations and Peoples of the Fourth World and to making the world a better place."
—Göran Hansson, Former Chairman of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Introduction 1. Emerging Modern Nations 2. Fourth World Geopolitics 3. Four Nations and the U.S.A. 4. First Nations and Canada 5. The Laboratory of Internal Political Change 6. The Laboratory of External Political Change 7. Fourth World Wars in the Shadows 8. Dispatches from the Fourth World 9. The Global Movement of Nations 10. A World of Nations and States