Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous: Postcolonial Politics in by Dorothy L. Hodgson

By Dorothy L. Hodgson

What occurs to marginalized teams from Africa once they best friend with the indigenous peoples' stream? Who claims to be indigenous and why? Dorothy L. Hodgson explores how indigenous id, either in idea and in perform, performs out within the context of monetary liberalization, transnational capitalism, country restructuring, and political democratization. Hodgson brings her lengthy event with Maasai to her knowing of the moving contours in their modern struggles for acceptance, illustration, rights, and assets. Being Maasai, turning into Indigenous is a deep and delicate mirrored image at the percentages and bounds of transnational advocacy and the dilemmas of political motion, civil society, and alter in Maasai groups.

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Moreover, the forum for this pronouncement, the UN Working Group, indicated a new willingness of that body to entertain claims that African groups such as Maasai shared common histories, grievances, and structural positions within their nation-states with long-recognized “first peoples” from white settler colonies in the Americas, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere. As such, long-accepted definitions of “indigenous” were being challenged, with pressure to expand their meanings to encompass new categories of similarly disenfranchised peoples.

These interviews and conversations were conducted in Swahili, English, French, and Maa, depending on the context and participants, and all translations to English in the book are my own. I applied a similar research strategy to the umbrella-group workshops, which brought together dozens of representatives from pastoralist and huntergatherer NGOs and CBOs from throughout northern Tanzania and so were a major node of interaction and insight. Thus, in addition to observing and participating in the formal sessions of the workshops (as part of the regular round of preliminary introductions, I always introduced myself to all of the workshop participants as a researcher studying the organizations) and the informal conversations at breaks and meals, I conducted opportunistic interviews and conversations with representatives about their own organizations, as well as their perspectives on and experiences of the umbrella organizations, the idea of indigenous peoples, the current situation of their constituencies, the policies and practices of the Tanzanian government, relationships with donors, and more.

Daes and Miguel Alfonso Martínez, served multiple terms over the years. Every year, from 1982 through 2006 (except in 1986 because of a UN funding crisis), the UN Working Group met for a week of public meetings, and then filed a report of its deliberations with the Sub-Commission. The establishment of the UN Working Group was a crucial moment in international indigenous politics, providing a space and platform for indigenous activists to voice their concerns, network among themselves, and lobby for increased attention to indigenous affairs by the United Nations, and through the United Nations, member states.

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