Indigenous Peoples as Subjects of International Law  book cover
1st Edition

Indigenous Peoples as Subjects of International Law

Edited By

Irene Watson

ISBN 9780367180775
Published December 19, 2018 by Routledge
236 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

For more than 500 years, Indigenous laws have been disregarded. Many appeals for their recognition under international law have been made, but have thus far failed – mainly because international law was itself shaped by colonialism. How, this volume asks, might international law be reconstructed, so that it is liberated from its colonial origins?

With contributions from critical legal theory, international law, politics, philosophy and Indigenous history, this volume pursues a cross-disciplinary analysis of the international legal exclusion of Indigenous Peoples, and of its relationship to global injustice. Beyond the issue of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, however, this analysis is set within the broader context of sustainability; arguing that Indigenous laws, philosophy and knowledge are not only legally valid, but offer an essential approach to questions of ecological justice and the co-existence of all life on earth.

Table of Contents





Irene Watson

1 Aboriginal nations, the Australian nation-state and Indigenous international legal traditions

Ambellin Kwaymullina

2 Domination in relation to Indigenous (‘dominated’) Peoples in international law

Steven Newcomb

3 The ‘natural’ Law of nations: society and the exclusion of First Nations as subjects of international law

Marcelle Burns

4 Long before Munich: the American template for Hitlerian diplomacy

Ward Churchill

5 First Nations, Indigenous Peoples: our laws have always been here

Irene Watson

5 Law and politics of Indigenous self-determination: the meaning of the right to prior consultation

Roger Merino

7 How governments manufacture consent and use it against Indigenous Peoples

Sharon Venne

8 ‘Kill the Indian in the child’: genocide in international law

Tamara Starblanket



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Irene Watson belongs to the Tanganekald, Meintangk and Boandik First Nations Peoples. She is a Professor of Law at the University of South Australia.


 "This book brings together an impressive array of newer and established scholars and thinkers in a thought-provoking, insightful and challenging volume." - Aziz Choudry