An Unconventional Approach to ‘IR’: Indigenous Peoples’ Political Activities in Global Relations

By Marchéta Wright.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Recognizing and accepting indigenous peoples’ contributions to global relations allows us to identify flaws of ‘mainstream’ ‘IR’ theory and practice. Notwithstanding the myriad work that continues to emerge regarding theories of world politics, little if any consideration is given to the political activities of indigenous peoples; they are rarely acknowledged as proactive participants in global affairs. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Saami Council and indigenous peoples' ongoing activity within the UN framework, for example, underscore the limitations of current explanations for global relations. Even when pluralism(s) opened the door for non-state actors to be considered, such considerations were limited to state-oriented (albeit nongovernmental) actors. Further, indigenous peoples’ political activities, as shaped by their symbiotic relationships (community ↔ individual ↔ environment ↔ spirituality), evoke a revisioning of some of the strands of globalism(s) and feminism(s) – the ways they weave together and suggest alternative images and patterns for explaining global relations. Unconventional concepts of global relations emerge as a result of such rethinking. ‘Natural interdependency(ies),’ ‘community’ and ‘collective responsibility’ – operationalized by inclusive, consensus based decision making – transcend traditional concepts that have been at the core of ‘IR’ theory; respectively, they are: power, the state and sovereignty. Through an initial discourse about these three alternative concepts we will begin to consider the ways in which diversity of relationships and political engagement – not merely of peoples – may contribute to practical solutions and theoretical understandings of our world.

Keywords: Indigenous Peoples, Political Activity of Indigenous Peoples, International Relations Theory

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.87-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 603.776KB).

Dr. Marchéta Wright

Chair, International Relations Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Marchéta Wright (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is Chair and Associate Professor of International Relations at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Previous research projects include a comparative analysis of the socio-political dynamics of the Haudenosaunee, Kogi and Ladakhi peoples, the impact of ethnocide on women of indigenous North American communities and representations of indigenous peoples in the literary work of Carlos Guillermo Wilson. Her current book project focuses on the implications of indigenous peoples’ activities at the United Nations for international/global relations theory.

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