Introduction: Studying Indigenous Activism in Latin America

  • Citation: Warren, Kay B., and Jean E. Jackson. “Introduction: Studying Indigenous Activism in Latin America.” Chapter. In Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America, edited by Kay B. Warren and Jean E. Jackson, 1–46. New York: University of Texas Press, 2021.
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • Latin America
    • indigenous activism
    • human rights

This volume examines the cross-currents of change that lie behind the growing indigenous activism in Latin America.1Conventional portrayals often stereotype indigenous groups as either victims or survivors of state violence. This impulse—regularly felt and acted upon by well-meaning supporters, anthropologists, human rights groups, and indigenous activists themselves—is understandable, given the chronic violence and political instability that have plagued Latin America over the last fifty years. Political scientist Crawford Young (1976, 1993) exemplified the victim/survivor view when he initially concluded that Latin American indigenous people had suffered from such severe fragmentation and economic and cultural deprivation that they would be unable to mobilize nationalist movements as have ethnic minorities in other parts of the world. Other authors, despite their investigations into indigenous resistance and rebellion in the past, nonetheless predicted a future of inevitable disintegration and assimilation (e.g., Kicza 1993).