Scales of Governance and Indigenous Peoples' Rights: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Scales of Governance and Indigenous Peoples' Rights

1st Edition

Edited by Irene Bellier, Jennifer Hays


294 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138944480
pub: 2019-10-08
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pub: 2019-10-08
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This book takes an interdisciplinary approach to the complicated power relations surrounding the recognition and implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights at multiple scales.

The adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 was heralded as the beginning of a new era for Indigenous Peoples’ participation in global governance bodies, as well as for the realization of their rights – in particular, the right to self-determination. These rights are defined and agreed upon internationally, but must be enacted at regional, national, and local scales. Can the global movement to promote Indigenous Peoples’ rights change the experience of communities at the local level? Or are the concepts that it mobilizes, around rights and political tools, essentially a discourse circulating internationally, relatively disconnected from practical situations? Are the categories and processes associated with Indigenous Peoples simply an extension of colonial categories and processes, or do they challenge existing norms and structures? This collection draws together the works of anthropologists, political scientists, and legal scholars to address such questions. Examining the legal, historical, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of the Indigenous Peoples' rights movement, at global, regional, national, and local levels, the chapters present a series of case studies that reveal the complex power relations that inform the ongoing struggles of Indigenous Peoples to secure their human rights.

The book will be of interest to social scientists and legal scholars studying Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and international human rights movements in general.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of contributors


Indigenous Peoples' Rights: Global circulation, colonial heritage, and resistance

Irène Bellier and Jennifer Hays

Part I: Circulating between the scales: the global, the national, and the local

Chapter 1: Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Issues Affecting Them: A Matter of Negotiation at the United Nations

Irène Bellier

Chapter 2: Defining the terms of Indigenous Peoples' rights in Namibia: The role of the International Labor Organization

Jennifer Hays

Chapter 3: Indigenous peoples’ rights and policies: the role of the UN in Mexico

Verónica González González

Chapter 4: Traversing the Scales of Rights: Interventions from Indigenous Peoples of Cambodia at the United Nations

Neal B. Keating


Part II: Colonial Legacies

Chapter 5: Colonial Legacy and Public Policy: from primitive to indigenous in French Guiana (1930-present)

Stéphanie Guyon

Chapter 6: Decoloniality Put to the Test: The Plurinational State of Bolivia

Laurent Lacroix

Chapter 7: Leveraging International Power: Private Property and the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Brian Thom

Chapter 8: The Logic of Elimination in (Post-)Colonial Law: Indigenous Entanglements in the Kimberley region of Australia

Martin Préaud


Part III: Resisting Processes of Invisibilization

Chapter 9: Criminalization and Judicialization of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Chile: Current Dynamics

Leslie Cloud and Fabien Le Bonniec

Chapter 10: Burning a home that ‘doesn’t exist,’ arresting people who ‘aren’t there’: A critique of eviction-based conservation and the Sengwer of Embobut forest, Kenya

Justin Kenrick

Chapter 11: Redefining University Research Enterprises: partnership and collaboration in Laxyuup Gitxaała

Charles R. Menzies and Caroline F. Butler



About the Editors

Irène Bellier, is a senior research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and teaches at the Graduate School of Social Sciences (Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, EHESS) in Paris. She is the director of the Laboratory of the Anthropology of Institutions and Social Organizations (LAIOS) at Interdisciplinary Institute for Contemporary Anthropology (IIAC).

Jennifer Hays is an associate professor of social anthropology in the Department of Social Sciences (ISS) at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø.

About the Series

Indigenous Peoples and the Law

The colonial modalities which resulted in the pillaging of the ‘New World’ involved wholesale dispossession, genocidal violence and exploitation of their original inhabitants. It was not, however, until the latter part of the twentieth century that Indigenous peoples attained some degree of legal recognition. This book series focuses upon the manner in which Indigenous peoples’ experiences of law have been transformed from an oppressive system of denying rights to a site of contestation and the articulation of various forms of self-governance. Encouraging a range of theoretical, political and ethical perspectives on Indigenous peoples and the law, this book series aims to provide a comprehensive survey of the experience of Indigenous peoples and their changing relationship with national and international juridical frameworks.  

The series will include both monographs and edited collections pursuing variety a of perspectives – including, but not limited to, a concern with:

  • Law as a mechanism of power/knowledge: that is, the discursive and biopolitical strategies of Conquest, Settlement, and Empire – with a  particular interest in how the juridical was deployed to validate land appropriation in the ‘New World’ and European colonies. This might include consideration of the influence of the writings of Vattel, Blackstone, Sepulveda, Vittoria, las Casas and others in framing Indigenous populations and their lands as supposedly amenable to colonization.
  • The role of law in authorising oppression, dispossession and genocide in the colonial period, and how such juridical moments continue to shape relations between Indigenous peoples and the State. This might include consideration of: specific governmental policies and legislation that allowed for forced removal of Indigenous children; appropriation of Indigenous lands; the imposition of regimes of control through government reserves and missions; and/or the role of treaties in providing legal justification for the dispossession of Indigenous peoples.
  • Contemporary issues that confront Indigenous peoples in their dealings with law in the global present. This might include consideration of: disputes relating to resource extraction; access to justice and over-representation in the criminal justice system; cultural heritage and intellectual property claims; the recognition of Indigenous laws; land rights; the belated recognition of Indigenous rights in both ‘new’ constitutions and in international law; and/or sovereignty.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the series, please contact:

Mark Harris

The University of British Columbia

[email protected]


Colin Perrin


2 Park Square

Milton Park



OX14 4RN

[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International
LAW / Indigenous Peoples