Contemporary Indigenous Social and Political Thought
- LAST MODIFIED: 24 February 2021
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0245
- LAST MODIFIED: 24 February 2021
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0245
The contemporary continental emergence of a significant number of indigenous intellectuals who have been trained in the academic fields of social sciences (history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, law, education, etc.) and have continued to be engaged with the social struggles of their ethnic communities of origin is a major sociocultural phenomenon not so well known in Latin America. Beginning in the 1960s, but with a stronger sociopolitical visibility in the 1980s and 1990s, indigenous intellectuals’ production of knowledge has become the backbone of many indigenous movements and proposals in the continent. Just like the booming appearance of modern indigenous literary writers (see Oxford Bibliographies article in Latin American Studies “Indigenous Voices in Literature”), the contemporary rise of indigenous intellectuals has reconceptualized indigenous communitarian worldviews and contributed to the study of their own social realities from their specific needs, cultural perspectives, and native languages. Indigenous intellectuals and scholars have flourished in the early 21st century, transforming knowledge and academic discourses into tools of indigenous cultural self-recognition; criticism of neocolonial forms of subordination and exploitation; and new conceptual ways of understanding history, democracy, communal life, political participation, cultural representation, and our human relationship with nature (Mother Earth). The purpose of this bibliographical essay is to offer an interdisciplinary and continental comprehensive view about these critical reflections, research studies, reports, interviews, essays, testimonies, manifests, discourses, and other conceptual contributions of Latin American indigenous intellectuals and communitarian leaders from the 1960s to the present. I have limited this vast and complex intellectual production to three fundamental indigenous debates: first, the criticism against neocolonialism, racism, and discrimination; second, self-defense of indigenous human rights and pluricultural laws; and, third, the development of judicial systems to protect the rights of Mother Earth—all of which lead to constructing new societies based on universal principles of ethnic diversity, respect for social equality and reciprocity, and living together in harmony. There are many other areas of indigenous sociopolitical production that are not considered here. That is why this study is a modest and preliminary tribute to a long and much more complex indigenous intellectual production that emerges based on exclusion, discrimination, and other forms of social inequality still suffered by many indigenous peoples in Latin America. This essay, thematically organized, provides an inclusive selection of a very heterogeneous spectrum of contemporary Latin American indigenous intellectuals, academics, activists and communitarian leaders, in conjuction with others who have been inspired or influenced by them. The purpose here then is to visibilize these contemporary indigenous authors, thinkers, and activists, even if their ideas, studies, and social reflections can be related to precolonial or colonial times. The strong presence of social leaders such as Berta Cáceres in Honduras, Isildo Beldenegro in Mexico, or José Tendetza in Ecuador, and many many others—some of whom have been killed, tortured, and criminalized— cannot be separated from the concepts and critical studies produced by indigenous intellectuals. I want to thank Agustín Grijalva and Maria Warren for their invaluable help.
General Overviews on Indigenous Peoples Today
New research studies and continental reports are addressing the current situation, major problems, and challenges of indigenous populations in Latin America. The World Bank 2015 and The Indigenous World 2018 provide continental reports on indigenous peoples across the Americas; Bengoa 2000, Cruz 2010, Del Popolo 2017, López García and Estévez 2009, De la Ribera 2012, and Stavenhagen 2010 analyze the contemporary emergence of indigenous peoples in Latin America, offering different social, historical, and political perspectives. Other studies focus their attention on specific regions and countries. Centro Bartolome de las Casas 2007 compares the situations of indigenous peoples in the Andean region, while Dos Santos Luciano 2006 explores their important presence in Brazil.
Bengoa, José. La emergencia indígena en América Latina. Santiago de Chile: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000.
In this book, José Bengoa offers a historical and anthropological view on the emergence of indigenous peoples in Latin America, enriching an indispensable theoretical and political discussion for those interested in social science studies.
Centro Bartolome de las Casas. Pueblos indígenas: Referencias andinas para el debate. Cuzco, Peru: Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos Bartolome de las Casas, CBC, 2007.
Gathers a selection of articles that discusses the democratic participation of indigenous peoples in the municipal spaces of three Andean countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Cruz, Alberto, ed. Pueblos originarios en América: Guía introductoria de su situación. Pamplona-Iruña, Spain: Aldea Alternativa Desarrollo, 2010.
This book seeks to inform and explain the situation of native peoples or Indian nationalities in the American continent, from Canada to Argentina, and from the perspective of collective ownership of the land.
De la Ribera, Rolando, ed. Abya Yala: Una visión indígena. Mexico D.F.: Prensa Latina, Agencia Informativa Latinoamericana, 2012.
In this book, twenty-five journalists and news correspondents from Prensa Latina describe the history, social struggles and aspirations of Latin American indigenous communities, making a contribution to the diffusion of knowledge on native peoples’ ancestral cultures and values. Prologue by Evo Morales Ayma.
Del Popolo, Fabiana, ed. Los pueblos indígenas en América (Abya Yala): Desafíos para la igualdad en la diversidad. Santiago de Chile: CEPAL, 2017.
This study proposes to understand that the path toward indigenous self-determination has been built from the reconstitution and strengthening of indigenous peoples’ ancestral institutions. Also available online.
Dos Santos Luciano, Gersen José. O índio brasileiro: O que você precisa saber sobre os povos indígenas no Brasil. Coleção Educação para Todos. Brasília, Brazil: Ministério da Educação, Secretaria de Educação Continuada, Organização das Nações Unidas para a Educação, a Ciência e a Cultura, Representação no Brasil, 2006.
Dos Santos Luciano’s book seeks to contribute to a renewed understanding of the sociocultural diversities of the Brazilian indigenous peoples, questioning discriminatory conceptions still existing about them. The author is a Baniwa Indian from Brazil.
Jacquelin-Andersen, Pamela, ed. The Indigenous World 2018. Copenhagen: The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, IWGIA, 2018.
The purpose of this continental report is to give a comprehensive overview of the developments of indigenous peoples around the world, including North, Central, and South American regions. This compilation is the result of a collaborative effort between indigenous and nonindigenous activists and scholars who voluntarily shared their valuable insights and analysis.
López García, Julián, and Manuel Gutiérrez Estévez, eds. América indígena ante el siglo XXI. Madrid: Fundación Carolina, 2009.
This book is the result of an unusual practice: a series of gatherings with indigenous senators and congressmen organized by Fundación Carolina since 2005; other works from gatherings with indigenous women who discussed indigenous rights are also included.
Rodríguez, Nemesio J, and Stefano Varese, eds. El pensamiento indígena contemporáneo en América Latina. Mexico City, Mexico: Sep. Dirección General de Educación Indígena, 1981.
An international overview of contemporary indigenous thought in Latin America, including countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
Stavenhagen, Rodolfo. Los pueblos originarios: El debate necesario. Buenos Aires, Argentina: CTA Ediciones; CLACSO: Instituto de Estudios y Formación de la CTA, 2010.
For Stavenhagen, the significance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not only to strengthen human rights in general, or to rethink the relationships between indigenous peoples and nation states, but also to fight against the myths of the so-called “Indian problem,” which have been around for centuries.
The World Bank. Indigenous Latin America in the Twenty-First Century: The First Decade. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015.
This report seeks to offer a brief, preliminary glance at the state of indigenous peoples in Latin America at the end of the first decade of the millennium. The report is based on microdata extracted from censuses in sixteen countries and household surveys in nine countries.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Abortion and Infanticide
- Agricultural Technologies
- Ancient Andean Textiles
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Andean Music
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Brazil, The
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Atlantic Creoles
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Beauty in Latin America
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Bolaño, Roberto
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- California Missions, The
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial Latin America, Crime and Punishment in
- Colonial Latin America, Pilgrimage in
- Colonial Legal History of Peru
- Colonial New Granada
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Indigenous Social and Political Thought
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Cortés, Hernán
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, Fernando
- Dependency Theory in Latin American History
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500–1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Dutch in South America and the Caribbean, The
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Economies from Independence to Industrialization
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- Education in New Spain
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- Franciscans in Colonial Latin America
- From "National Culture" to the "National Popular" and the ...
- Gaucho Literature
- Gender and History in the Andes
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guaman Poma de Ayala, Felipe
- Guaraní and Their Legacy, The
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Guatemala (Colonial Period)
- Guatemala (Modern & National Period)
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Indigenous Voices in Literature
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jesuits in Colonial Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- José María Arguedas and Early 21st Century Cultural and Po...
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Theater and Performance
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Magical Realism
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Menchú, Rigoberta
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Nationalism
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Nuns and Convents in Colonial Latin America
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Pastoralism in the Andes
- Paz, Octavio
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Ponce de León
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in 19th-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-conquest Mesoamerican States, The
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Puerto Rican Literature
- Religions in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Santo Domingo
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Science and Technology in Modern Latin America
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Slavery in Brazil
- São Paulo
- South American Missions
- Spanish American Arab Literature
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Spiritual Conquest of Latin America, The
- Sports in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Telenovelas and Melodrama in Latin America
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 19th Century and Modernismo Poetry in Spanish America
- 20th-Century Mexico, Mass Media and Consumer Culture in
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Venezuelan Literature
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Women's Property Rights, Asset Ownership, and Wealth in La...
- World War I in Latin America
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas