Indigenous Development in the Andes
ne morning in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, an indigenous woman
in development issues walks to the offices of the national indige-
nous peoples’ confederation. Here she has a meeting with Afro-Ecuadorians
about a multiethnic development program in rural villages, and then she will
take a conference call from staff at the Norwegian bilateral agency to coordinate
responses to the latest United Nations statement on indigenous rights. In La
Paz, Bolivia, a mestizo man working at the World Bank coordinates a meeting
with representatives from the continental Fondo Indígena, while responding to a
U.S.-based advocacy
Taken together, these stories suggest the increasingly
transnational, multiethnic, and institutionalized character of contemporary
indigenous movements. Mass mobilizations still matter, but the lines of struggle
are drawn increasingly within agencies of power, not just at their doorsteps.
These changes in indigenous politics signal a need for new approaches to its
study. Developing such an approach is a primary objective of this book.
Over the past twenty years, indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Bolivia have
moved from political obscurity to political centrality through a combination of
national and transnational activism. They have done so by redefining the mean-
ings of dominant discourses, by mobilizing to pressure national governments,
and by taking advantage of opportunities and alliances (Albó 1994; Santana 1995;
Radcliffe and Westwood 1996; Patzi 1998; Van Cott 2000a; Selverston-Scher
2001; Lucero 2002; Andolina 2003; Yashar 2005). Their achievements include
public acceptance of cultural diversity, legal recognition of multiple indigenous
rights and territories, political recognition of representative indigenous orga-
nizations, and the creation of institutions to manage indigenous affairs, which
are often directed or influenced by indigenous representatives. Indigenous
movements have also participated in popular coalitions that have challenged
Previous Page Next Page