Syllabus: Indigenous Peoples - Global Issues (Fall 2001)
This course provides a critical overview of present day issues facing indigenous peoples. We begin by examining the concept of a "Fourth World." Who are indigenous peoples and how have they been categorized in relation to "ethnic groups," colonization, and the international system of states? We examine current debates within the United Nations about indigenous peoples and human rights. We take a look at law and economics of colonialism and emerging issues of globalization. We explore the relationship of law and custom. Reading materials include fiction and non-fiction approaches to these themes.
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932, 1946)
- The Zapatistas, Zapatista Encuentro: documents from the 1996 Encounter for Humanity and against Neoliberalism (1998)
- B. Traven, Government (1931, 1971)
- George A. Collier, Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas (1999 revised edition)
- A. Oscar Kawagley, A Yupiaq Worldview: a pathway to ecology and spirit (1995)
- Course Packet: Selected edited cases and articles.
1, 2, 3, 4: How many worlds? Colonialism and Globalization
"Contact: the Yanomami Indians of Brazil"
This documentary, shot in one of the most remote corners of the Brazilian Amazon, graphically depicts the devastating impact of contact with the outside world on an isolated indigenous tribe. (Filmakers Library, 1990)
Colonialism and Self-determination
Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495 (2000)
Steven T. Newcomb, "Comment: Rice v. Cayetano - Justice Department Evidence
Contradicts Supreme Court Decision"
VIDEO: "Nation within: the story of America's annexation of the nation of Hawai'i" (Kãne'ohe, Hawai'i: Epi-Center, 1998)
Science as invasion; Sociology as police work
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
VIDEO: "Gene Hunters" (Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1995) This film tells the controversial story of an ambitious scientific enterprise to collect the DNA of native peoples worldwide: The Human Genome Diversity Project.
United Nations and indigenous peoples
- John Bonsignore, "Multinationals and the United Nations: A Working Paper"
- "Draft United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
- "Statements of the United States of America on the Draft UN Declaration...." presented by Michael J. Dennis
- "Report of the Working Group established in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995"
- "Commentary: US Model of Indigenous Rights Subverts Inter-sessional Working Group"
- "Statement of the Navajo Nation," presented by Martin Avery
- "Respect and Recognition for Indigenous Justice," Honorable Robert Yazzie
- "Position Paper on Indigenous Rights from the Perspective of the Cherokee Nation"
"Tightrope of Power" Witness the struggles of the Objibwa-Cree and Mohawk tribes against the Canadian federal government. (Alexandria, VA: PBS Video, 1992.)
Human Rights - Human Customs
- Vinay Lal, "The Imperialism of Human Rights"
- Rhoda E. Howard, "Human Rights and the Necessity for Cultural Change"
- Bruce Ottley, "Looking Back to the Future: The Colonial Origins of Current Attitudes Toward Customary Law"
- Jean G. Zorn, "Customary Courts and Customary law: A Comparison of Papua New Guinean and American Indian Approaches"
- Rwezaura, "From Native Law and Custom to Customary Law: The Changing Political Uses of Customary Law in Modern Africa"
VIDEO: "Fire Eyes" Explores the socio-economic, psychological and medical consequences of the ancient custom of female circumcision - genital mutilation. (New York: Filmakers Library, 1994.)
Structures of extraction
B. Traven, Government
VIDEO: "First Contact" Recounts the discovery by gold prospectors of a flourishing native population in the interior highlands of New Guinea in 1930 in what had been thought to be an uninhabited area. (New York, N.Y.: Filmakers Library, 1984.)
Political theory of colonialism
- Karl Marx, "The Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the Land"
- Stanley Diamond, "The Rule of Law versus the Order of Custom"
- Duke Adolphus Frederick of Mecklenburg, "A Land of Giants and Pygmies"
- Colin M. Turnbull, The Lonely African (excerpt)
VIDEO: "Burn!" A story of political greed and social upheaval on a journey deep into the heart of darkness of a 19th century Caribbean island, where men rise up in bitter and bloody rebellion against the wealthy nations seeking to enslave them. (Culver City, CA: MGM/UA Home Video, 1991, c1969.)
To be Announced
Indigenous rebellion in Mexico
- George A. Collier, Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas
- The Zapatistas, Zapatista Encuentro: documents from the 1996 Encounter for Humanity and against Neoliberalism
VIDEO: "Sixth Sun" Examination of the events during and following the peasant uprising in Chiapas in 1994. (New York: Cinema Guild, 1996,)
A. Oscar Kawagley, A Yupiaq Worldview
VIDEO: "A Poor Man Shames Us All" Contrasts Western views of wealth and economic needs, which have created a society of strangers in the midst of material riches, with tribal cultures such as the Weyewa of Indonesia and the Gabra of Kenya, which create economies of dependency on others. (Alexandria, VA: PBS Video, 1992.)
Anouk Tryon, graduate student, "Aboriginal education issues in Canada"
Anti-colonialism through film
- "Columbus Didn't Discover Us" The First Continental Conference of Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador, July, 1990. (Wendell, MA: Turning Tide Productions, 1992.)
- "Babakiueria" A satirical film which ridicules the colonialization of indigenous people. Roles of majority/minority in Australia are reversed. (Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1986.)
- "The Couple In The Cage" Color sequences of the display in various museums of performance artists portraying an aboriginal couple from Gautinau, a fictional island off the coast of Mexico, are contrasted with archival footage and still photographs showing various occasions when indigenous persons were put on public display at circuses, sideshows and the like. (Chicago, IL: Video Data Bank, 1993.)
- "The Cutting Edge Of Progress" The consequences for an indigenous Central African tribe, the Tonga of Zimbabwe, that was physically, culturally and economically dislocated by the damming of the Zambezi River to create Lake Kariba. (San Diego, Calif.: Media Guild, 1992.)
Anna Chekovsky, a graduate of the University of Bucharest, department of foreign languages, with specialization in technical translations, has provided a French translation of this syllabus on her blog. Thank you, Anna!
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