Globalization and Its Special and Significant Impacts on Indigenous Communities

Many of the themes discussed thus far in the text have particular urgency for the world’s Indigenous peoples.  Indigenous systems of collective economic production and distribution do not conform to capitalism’s emphasis on individual accumulation.[1]  The two worldviews may indeed be antithetical.[2]  Indigenous societies generally view “resources” in a very different way from that of global industry’s commodity-centered calculus.[3]  Around the world, a good number of Indigenous groups have over centuries or millennia successfully sustained economies in one particular place and ecosystem.  The co-adaptation of people with other elements of their ecological systems has meant that the integrity and functioning of these systems has been sustained even as the communities’ culture developed and changed historically.  These economic arrangements should be seen not as separate from, but as one component of, entire cultural understandings that include sacred interactions with the world.[4]  Indigenous economies can thus be seen to be sustainable to the extent to which the holders of culture interact in a culturally appropriate way with the world around them, including those elements of the world known to modern scientists as “natural resources.”  In many areas Indigenous people have sustained communities from time immemorial, and the ecological systems of which they are a component have maintained relative richness and resilience to natural perturbations such as drought or fires.  The ecosystems that have been remained predominantly under control and care of Indigenous peoples thus tend to be characterized by high biodiversity, abundant renewable resources, and relatively unexploited nonrenewable resources.  The great irony of globalization is that this very sustainability of their economies now makes their territories and knowledge valuable targets as commodities in a globalized economy.


Indigenous people have not passively acceded to the penetration of extractive capitalism into their communities.  The following section thus not only reviews how globalization impacts Indigenous people, but also describes how Indigenous communities resist or negotiate in order to defend their territories and cultural integrity.

Economic policy, when set on a global scale, can undermine the political gains that Indigenous peoples may have made within the legal systems of nation states.  Victor Menotti of the International Forum on Globalization has written of how World Trade Organization (WTO) authority is diminishing the sovereignty of nation states over their land, water, genetic material, and public services.[5]  The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), for example, favors the privatization of systems (such as those for water distribution) that serve the general public but without an equitable provision of services that is often at odds with maximization of profits.[6]  Structural adjustment programs (SAPs) imposed as a condition of loans from global finance agencies such as the World Bank also often mandate privatization. The effects on Indigenous peoples and other poor people can be devastating.  World Bank-mandated SAP privatization of coal mining in the Indian state of Orissa in the 1990s, for example, resulted in contamination of rivers, increased rates of fluoride poisoning, infections, and cancer, displacement of towns, and power rates that increased by 500%.[7]  The World Bank and IMF have also made water privatization a prior condition for granting loans and debt reductions.[8]  Structural adjustment programs also weaken national-level environmental and labor laws that Indigenous communities may have relied on in previous struggles to maintain control over territory and resources.[9]

Other new international trade rules also negatively impact Indigenous peoples.[10]  For example, Article I of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) prohibits national governments from restricting imports specifically from any single other WTO member nation.  This article thus makes it impossible for national governments to restrict imports from other WTO countries with questionable human rights, labor, or environmental records and thus disallows a potential safeguard for the rights of Indigenous peoples.[11]

Article III of GATT, together with its corollary Articles V and XI, requires governments to treat all imported goods “no less favorably” than locally produced goods and bans restrictions on imports.  Victor Menotti writes of how this feature of GATT “prevents any government from favoring or protecting it own local industries, or farmers or cultures that might otherwise by overwhelmed by globe-spanning corporations bringing vast amounts of cheap imports that make local or Indigenous economies non-viable”.[12]   Similar “free trade” policies under NAFTA have already been demonstrated to undercut the livelihoods of small-scale Mexican corn farmers, many of whom are Indigenous, who are unable to compete with cheap, mass-produced grain from the US.[13]

Another set of WTO rules, the Agreement on Agriculture, further weakens the ability of nations to set up barriers to imports and also prohibits the internal support of domestic producers through low-cost credit, price supports, and subsidized seeds and fertilizer.  WTO agriculture rules, rather than safeguarding the rights of indigenous producers and small-scale farmers, are thus specifically designed to favor the large-scale production of luxury exports, leading to monocultural production of cash crops and associated environmental problems and ecological vulnerability.[14]  The Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS) limits the ability of national governments to regulate or monitor imports of transgenic foods.[15]  Vicente Fox’s ambitious Plan Puebla-Panama is a well-known example of how the transportation infrastructure to facilitate this export-based economy often appropriates Indigenous people’s lands without their consent.[16]

Many large-scale infrastructure projects, often funded through loans from the World Bank, regional multilateral banks (e.g., the Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank), and more recently by the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), represent threats to Indigenous peoples’ autonomy and resources.[17]  The World Bank-funded Polonoroeste highway project through Indigenous lands in the Amazon rain forest, for example, brought colonizers, deforestation, and disease epidemics to the region.  Pipeline construction, damming of rivers, and toxic contamination from industrial development are other dangers for indigenous peoples of the Amazon.[18]  In order to promise returns on the investment of the international lending institution, these projects are so large in scale that it would be difficult to account for local needs, even if the desire to do so existed.[19]

            A major impact associated with large infrastructure developments such as highways and dams is the resettlement of Indigenous communities that have developed sacred knowledge of, and connections with, specific places.  Not only can removal from homelands be traumatic for those moving, but the impacts on the areas receiving the displaced people can also be devastating.  From 1976 to 1986, Indonesia’s Suharto government used a $630 million World Bank loan to resettle millions of people in order to relieve population pressure and to provide a labor force for export crops such as cacao, coffee, and palm oil.  On the receiving island of Irian Jaya (West Papua), the influx of 300,000 Javanese has been a root cause of decades of ethnic conflict with Melanesians speaking 224 different languages, and the biodiversity of the island has come under threat from large mining operations and cash crop plantations.[20]

            Resource extraction generally, whether for minerals, forest products, or even genetic information and environmental knowledge, underlies many of the negative impacts of globalization on indigenous peoples.[21]  The well-known example of Royal Dutch Shell’s actions in the Niger Delta illustrates an oft-repeated pattern.[22]  The corporation has been extracting oil from the region for half a century but few if any benefits have come to Indigenous peoples such as the Ogoni and Ijaw.  Associated infrastructure construction and pollution from processing operations has heavily contaminated the air, water, and soils of the Delta.  In the 1960s, Nigeria was almost self-sufficient agriculturally, but in the 1970s the national economy became dependent on revenue from oil exports that brought great wealth to elite classes in the country.  Because of corruption in government, Nigeria began to accumulate a $9 billion external debt.  When oil prices dropped, the national government faced the prospect of defaulting, at which point the IMF offered a $5 billion loan tied to a SAP designed to cut funding for social services, privatize government-owned agencies, and encourage further dependence on exportable oil and cash crops.  By the early 1990s, Shell’s own armed police forces together with the Nigerian military (who, in the words of one former military officer, were paid by Shell to “sanitize” the people in the area of Shell’s five oil fields) put down indigenous resistance by razing villages and executing opposition leaders.[23]

            Extraction of mineral, wildlife, and forest resources from Indigenous peoples’ territories has, of course, a long history intertwined with European colonization.[24]  In recent decades, however, Indigenous groups have faced outside exploitation of another valuable resource: their DNA.  For example, because they offered the potential for asthma treatments, blood samples from Indigenous inhabitants of Trista de Cunha in the South Atlantic were sold to a California-based company.  The company subsequently sold the samples’ biotechnology rights to the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim for $70 million.[25]  Commentators have noted that the Indigenous groups from which genetic material is taken see little if any of the profits made by Western corporations who use that material.[26]  In 1994, an international consortium of academic researchers and government institutions organized the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) to collect information on how the human genome varies among populations. The project design required that blood and tissue samples be taken from hundreds of Indigenous communities around the world.[27]  Indigenous populations were to be a specific focus of the project because, in the words of HGDP researcher Ken Kidd, “remote populations make perfect laboratories” because their genetic materials are assumed to have mixed less with people outside the community.[28] The project drew vehement criticism from both specific Indigenous communities and from international organizations such as UNESCO, the Rural Advancement Foundation International, and the World Council for Indigenous Peoples.  Project critics contended that the HGDP would lead to expropriation of intellectual property from Indigenous communities, violate the human rights and societal norms of many Indigenous people, and take advantage of nebulous and culturally inappropriate standards of consent and consultation.[29]

            The original design of the HGDP was scaled back considerably as the outcry over its aims and methods caused funding to dry up by the late 1990s.[30]  On April 13, 2005, however, the National Geographic Society and IBM jointly announced the launch of the five-year Genographic Project, which expressly aims to complete the unfinished work of the HGDP.[31]  The Genographic Project aims to collect 100,000 blood samples from indigenous populations around the world and analyze them genetically, creating a collection of blood samples 100 times larger than that of the HGDP.[32]  Dr. Spencer Wells, a population geneticist at the society who is leading the program, said he hoped to head off charges of exploitation by offering money to the tribes for education and cultural preservation,[33] but the Indigenous People’s Council on Biocolonialism has already called the new project “a recurrent nightmare…essentially the same project we defeated years ago”.[34]  It does seem, however, that opposition to the HGDP influenced the design of the new project, as genetic information and materials will be less available to expropriate commercially.[35]

            Even apart from their own genetic code, many Indigenous people find that other aspects of their knowledge of the world are valuable to and targeted by external entities.
Specific WTO rules such as the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), which permits the patenting of life forms, facilitate un- or undercompensated extraction of this information.  Taking advantage of Indigenous knowledge about the uses of plants or animals can greatly reduce research costs for companies that can then file for patents for exclusive control over usage information or genetic materials.[36]  For example, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researched San peoples’ knowledge of the appetite suppression properties of the Hoodia cactus, secured a patent on a substance within the plant in 1997, and then licensed its development rights to the pharmaceutical company Pfizer via another company, Phytopharm.  In 2003, after vigorous objection, the CSIR agreed to share 0.003% of its net profits with the San, although Pfizer and Phytopharm shares go untouched.  As part of the deal, San peoples are prohibited from using their own knowledge of the plant for any commercial development on their own.[37]  Vandana Shiva has noted the irony of a situation where corporations seek patents to exclusively control the marketing and sales of products derived from Indigenous knowledge, but argue against the restriction of research by Indigenous communities who, they say, want to “lock up” this information that should be available to all human beings.[38]

            Another threat to the sovereignty of indigenous peoples comes from what might seem like a benign global movement: nature conservation.  Ramachandra Guha has written eloquently of how the concept of wilderness as “untrammeled by man” (an idea developed and codified largely in the United States) has been applied inappropriately in other cultural contexts, notably in India and Africa.  Guha argues that American emphasis on wilderness can be “positively harmful when applied to the Third World,” citing an example where the creation of tiger reserves in India (pushed for by American environmental groups) resulted in the physical displacement of several Indigenous communities.[39]  About 5 million people worldwide have been forced to leave their ancestral lands in the name of conservation and land preservation, and these same people are often criminalized as poachers when they return to their own lands to harvest game or plants.[40]  In other cases, people are allowed to remain but their traditional subsistence activities are heavily regulated or outlawed.  For example, since the establishment of the Biosphere Reserve of the Upper Gulf of California, a community of Cucapá Indians who live near the mouth of the Colorado River has struggled to regain the right to legally fish in their traditional waters.[41]  Bruce Braun has described how environmental groups have sometimes also played to images of Indigenous peoples as primitive in order to advance their own organization’s agendas.  Braun writes, “What qualifies a place as wilderness is its ability to appear to lie outside human history,” and that as a corollary wilderness designation requires that any Indigenous people that inhabit or inhabited the area be portrayed “as a natural culture, at home in the wild.”  He further describes how environmental groups have used wilderness designation as a lever to wrest forest resource management away from an indigenous community in British Columbia, writing, “[t]o the extent that the Nuu-chaa-nulth appear properly indigenous, Clayoquot Sound can be situated in a mythical place outside modernity and thus a place that both deserves preservation and requires a modern representative to speak in its name.”[42]

In the most drastic cases, when people are removed from their lands, the absence of an Indigenous population who previously could guard and watch over the lands also opens the newly “protected” area to outside poachers, squatters, cattle ranchers, renegade loggers, and exotic animal hunters, and biodiversity thus tends to decrease without indigenous people.[43]   The huge parks and reserves that are created in so-called developing nations often involve a “debt-for-nature swap” that encourages the home country to set aside conservation land in a deal with a large conservation NGO (e.g., WWF, The Nature Conservancy, or Conservation International).  Much of the funding for these NGOs comes not from individuals, but from large foundations, the World Bank, the Global Environmental Fund, USAID, and transnational corporations.[44]

            Ecotourism is sometimes touted as a way to reconcile opposing goals of conservation and development, but sometimes neither set of goals is likely to benefit local people.  Jobs created tend to be low-wage positions such as porters and maids, and people are drawn into this wage economy as conservation aspects of the projects curtail their access to use the land or sea.  Exposure to the consumer culture of tourists makes some people think of themselves, possibly for the first time, as being “poor,” and indigenous people often find their identities and rituals commoditized and trivialized as attractions for the visitors.[45]

            Although even the most local-seeming of resource extraction projects are tied into the global commodities market (through mineral or timber prices, for example), some environmental pressures that impact indigenous people, such as climate change, are more obviously generated on a global scale.  Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, testified in 2004 before the US Senate to review the impacts of global warming on the Inuit, who she termed “the canary in the global coal mine.”  Watt-Cloutier warned of melting sea ice, rising sea level, thawing permafrost, relocation of communities, and declining marine wildlife populations.  Noting that the Inuit have the highest suicide rate in North America and engage in destructive behaviors related to unemployment and poverty, she argues that what saves many Inuit is a return to the sea ice and traditional subsistence hunting.  In her words, “If climate change takes that source of wisdom away from us, just as we are coming through our struggle with modernization, then I profoundly fear for my people.”[46]

Indigenous peoples are also threatened by the global market in Indigenous artifacts, religious objects, and art styles.  Sacred objects are sometimes stolen or surreptitiously purchased from Indigenous territories, or they pass into the realm of private collection via archaeological excavation.  There have been proposals to reduce export controls in “source” countries as part of larger trade deregulation, but archaeologist Neil Brodie has argued against deregulation of the illegal international trade, claiming that the market for and theft of these objects would thus only increase.[47]  Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, former Executive Director of Environmental-Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education (EAGLE), has discussed impacts of the loss of these irreplaceable objects, but has also described a growing global industry of imitation Indigenous art (often mass produced) and the demoralizing effects that the trivialization of sacred objects has on indigenous people. [48]  WTO and NAFTA rules make it difficult for Indigenous people to appeal to their national governments for import barriers against mass-produced imitations.[49]  Native artistic production becomes less viable and communities are increasingly pressured to accept proposals to develop or industrialize their territories.  Williams-Davidson describes how international trade rules (such as the investor-state mechanisms of NAFTA and the “national treatment” clause of the WTO) are specifically written to supercede laws of (or agreements with) “sub-governments” such as Indigenous nations, if such laws or agreements have the effect of inhibiting the intentions of the international trade rules.[50]

Negotiation and Consultation

Indigenous peoples face numerous challenges and threats associated with globalization, but it is crucial to note that many do not passively accede to domination by global market forces.  Resistance, negotiation, and consultation are common features of Indigenous peoples’ interactions with transnational corporations and international economic policy bodies, but the definition and content of these terms play out very differently for different communities.  Much depends on the specific history of communities’ interactions with various governments, corporations, academic institutions, or NGOs, and on the legal framework that conditions relations of power among all of these entities.  For example, one can contrast the vulnerability of Huaorani Indigenous communities in Ecuador who sought compensation for oil drilling on their lands[51] with the relatively stronger position of various First Nations opposed to a major natural gas pipeline proposed to run south from Canada’s Mackenzie Delta.

            The Huaorani example suggests that corporations will take advantage of situations in which the absence of the nation-state as intermediary results in direct negotiation of a corporation with an indigenous group.  In 2001 AGIP Oil of Italy, in return for the right to build oil wells on Huaorani lands, agreed to compensate six communities with a total of 50 kg of rice and sugar, a bag of salt, 2 footballs, 15 plates and cups, 34 cans of tuna and sardines, some medicines, a radio, a battery and solar panel, and $3500 to build a school room.[52]

            In contrast, the Deh Cho First Nation and other native groups in Canada have thus far successfully resisted the construction of a $6 billion, 800-mile natural gas pipeline from the Mackenzie River Delta to Alberta.  Proponents of the plan argue that it will bring thousands of jobs and necessary infrastructure such as roads and bridges to Indigenous territories, although even pro-pipeline newspaper editorials admit the “evidence from other gas development projects that domestic violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and cultural dislocation can all increase.”[53]  Various First Nations have used the intermediary mechanisms available to them via provincial and federal governments to mount legal challenges to the consortium of oil companies charged with building the project and to engage in legally mandated consultation processes.  For example, in February 2006 the Dene Tha, a 2,500-member indigenous group, sought a judicial stay of all environmental hearings by a review panel until their right to participate in negotiations was recognized.[54]

            Despite the weakened power of the nation-state relative to global commerce bodies such as the WTO, Indigenous peoples in some nations are better able to assert their rights than Indigenous groups in others.  For example, according to anthropologist Susan Crate, native peoples in northern Canada have been able to apply their experience at negotiating the terms of the pipeline project to drive a harder bargain with the backers of a diamond mine in the Northwest Territories, ensuring guarantees of employment for local workers and active participation in the environmental impact assessment process.  Crate compares this experience with that of the Viliui Sakha, an indigenous group in northern Russia, who were not consulted or involved when the former USSR established diamond mines and collective farms to serve outside workers in their traditional homelands.  In several Viliui Sakha towns, Crate has documented serious health problems and environmental degradation caused by mining operations and waste runoff.[55]

            National and state laws can indeed still offer some protection for Indigenous communities actively resisting extractive industries of transnational corporations.  Another anthropologist, Carol MacLennan, has documented how the Mole Potowatomi Ojibwa stopped an Exxon-sponsored copper and nickel mine in their traditional territory in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The local Ojibwa government allied with environmental groups such as Trout Unlimited to stop the mine not through the permitting and EIS process, but by successfully lobbying for a new Michigan state law to put a moratorium on sulfide mining.  The new law employed the precautionary principle, placing the burden of proof on mining companies to show a commitment to safe practices and a history of safe practices in other mines.[56]

         Nation-state involvement, however, can also work against Indigenous groups, particularly when elements of the state collude with global corporate interests.  A 2005-2006 New York Times series, “The Cost of Gold”, investigated environmental abuses and ethically questionable payments made by New Orleans-based company Freeport-McMoRan to the Indonesian military to protect operations at the Grasberg gold and copper mine on the island of Papua in Indonesia.[57]  Rock tailings from the operation, the largest gold mine in the world, have choked downstream rivers and estuaries with acid-leaching debris, but close relations between the company and the repressive Suharto dictatorship stifled potential protest for decades. The Times reporters uncovered a history of hidden payments to Indonesian military officers from 1998 to 2004 after years of company espionage of environmental groups and Amungme and Komoro tribal leaders’ communications failed to prevent 1996 riots in which local protestors destroyed equipment, shutting down the mine and its mill for three days.  The $20 million in payments included more than $200,000 in 2003 to the Indonesian police Mobile Brigade, a paramilitary force cited by the U.S. State Department “for numerous serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and arbitrary detention.'' 

         It is worth noting that the Indonesian government was not a monolithic entity in these dealings. Even while officials at all levels of the Indonesian military were accepting bribes from Freeport-McMoRan to quash opposition to the mine, the Indonesian government’s environment minister, Sonny Keraf was pressuring other agencies to hold the company accountable for its destruction of rivers, forests, and fish.  Although Freeport-McMoRan avoided paying any compensation, another large transnational gold mining corporation, Newmont, settled a civil lawsuit in an Indonesian court in February 2006 by agreeing to pay $30 million for environmental and social programs to mitigate the impacts of its pollution of Indonesia’s Buyat Bay.  The trial was a rare case of a major American corporation facing criminal charges in a developing country where it is a major foreign investor.[58]

A commonly legislated solution to conflicts between Indigenous groups and other parties (be they extractive corporations, government agencies, or even universities) is mandatory consultation, but there is often fundamental disagreement about what constitutes adequate consultation.  Industry and government initiatives to consult with Indigenous communities often result from economic and legal necessity, involve tight timelines, and tend to be issue-specific; in contrast, Indigenous representatives often express a desire to establish longer-term partnerships that address specific issues but within broader historical contexts.[59] More important than whether native populations are “consulted” is the nature of the process, important questions being: Who controls the timetable and terms of consultation?  How are participants in the process identified and notified?  Do Indigenous people have the authority and resources to set the boundaries of the discussions?  Is the interaction informational in nature (“We are going to do this, so get ready for it”) or do Indigenous peoples have the right to accept or reject proposed actions?  Finally, are recommendations of Indigenous groups taken seriously and/or acted upon?[60]

Thomas Griffiths’ descriptions of World Bank initiatives to increase “participation” by native peoples are instructive.[61]  In 1991, the World Bank adopted revisions to an earlier directive on Indigenous peoples known as Operational Directive 4.20  (OD4.20). Indigenous leaders criticized the World Bank at the time because the policy was not developed in consultation with Indigenous peoples, and criticized the new policy for not meeting international standards on the rights of Indigenous peoples, not specifying that securing Indigenous land and resource rights be an essential precondition for project appraisal and approval, not expressly prohibiting forced relocation, and not recognizing the Indigenous right to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) to any developments proposed on their lands and territories.  After lengthy internal consultations among Bank staff and governments, the World Bank released its first draft of a revised Indigenous Peoples Policy to the public in 2001 as “OP4.10”.  Public consultations from July 2001 to February 2002 involved 25 meetings of over 1000 “stakeholders” in total. However, Indigenous peoples who engaged with the process complained that crucial documents were not provided ahead of time for meetings, translation was inadequate, and time schedules were too tight to permit for adequate and meaningful responses by Indigenous representatives.[62]

            In a “Collective Statement on Multilateral Development Banks and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights” the Fourth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues objected to the World Bank’s use of the phrase “Free Prior Informed Consultation” rather than “Free Prior Informed Consent” even though Indigenous representatives had explicitly rejected that language during participation in the creation of the policy revision.  The new revision also did not incorporate their recommendations for third party verification of the existence or non-existence of “broad community support” for proposed projects.  In May 2005, the World Bank Board of Directors approved OP4.10 without significant changes.

Alternatives and Possibilities

            Seneca leader John Mohawk wrote of a philosophy of wealth that provides a counter to global market forces, and that underlies many Indigenous communities’ efforts to assert control over their own development.  In his words:

We want to have a different kind of discussion; we want to talk about “subsistence”. Subsistence living has nothing to do with materialism.  People who live a subsistence life don’t think of it as, ‘Oh, I got seven pounds of fish today; I’m therefore materially well off.’ They are materially well off, but they don’t see the world that way.  They see themselves living in the world and in a relationship to the world that is not only that the world nurtures them, but that they have a reciprocal obligation to nurture it.  They’re here to maintain its survival as a coherent thing.  That’s what subsistence really is about. Subsistence isn’t an economic exchange. It’s a cultural, spiritual, social exchange that’s intended to go on for generations.  In fact, it’s the most moral relationship with nature that humans have ever devised.  It’s a way of dealing with that which is greater than we are in a respectful and coherent and sane manner.[63]

The ability of an Indigenous group to shape such a relationship with the rest of the world depends greatly on its ability to control what happens within its own territory.  Debra Harry describes various efforts by indigenous groups to control outsiders’ access to and use of their lands.  In the US, the Navajo and Cherokee nations, among other tribes, have established Institutional Review Boards that researchers need to clear before working on tribal lands.  Harry’s own organization, the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, has developed the “Indigenous Research Protection Act”, a model law that tribal governments can adapt to protect their people and resources against unwanted research, and to regulate research to which the tribe consents.[64]

            Geographer Anthony Bebbington has noted that various Indigenous federations in Ecuador have consciously employed production-boosting Green Revolution technologies in order to stem out-migration of their youth, which is viewed as a bigger threat to group solidarity and identity than the introduction of new technologies.[65]  Bebbington argues that any dichotomy between “Indigenous” and “modern” forms of agriculture and technology mostly exists in the realm of rhetoric – in real life, most Indigenous peoples will employ those elements of new technologies that they find useful and appropriate.[66]

            Again, however, the issue becomes one of control.  Many Indigenous societies have long been impacted by the actions of outsiders, and these actions have long been tied to transnational market forces; but globalization shifts the locus of control into ever more delocalized realms – from local government to national government to international finance markets where little accountability is conceivable.[67]

Several Indigenous people do not passively accept globalization’s impacts, however.  For example, Mayan populations in southern Mexico and Central America have pushed their governments to scale back the Plan Puebla-Panama (a $10 billion regional infrastructure “megaproject” sponsored with loans from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and the World Bank) because they would be unable to control the imposition and impacts of highways, energy grids, dams, oil pipelines, and industrial zones on their lands.[68]  In Bolivia, World Bank loans (with conditions to privatize a water system) generated an ultimately successful resistance movement in Cochabamba, Bolivia in which Indigenous groups allied with other local farmers, labor groups, environmentalists, and human rights activists to end monopolistic control of the city’s water by the San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation.[69]

            Many Indigenous organizations around the world are devising ways to meet the changing needs of their populations, adopting that which they consider appropriate (and rejecting that which does not) while actively defining their relationships with global consumer capitalism.  The book Paradigm Wars, published by the International Forum on Globalization, provides a partial listing (including contact information) of active Indigenous organizations in an appendix and is a good place for educators to direct their students.[70]  Many of these organizations integrate specific political action with efforts to revitalize language and culture, pursuing locally controlled “development” – in contrast to the blunt and sometimes harmful instruments of international aid agencies and financial institutions.

            Achievements in the larger context of international policy have also helped in local battles. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has written that increasing recognition of human rights of collective groups, as opposed to individual rights, has been one of the most important advances for Indigenous peoples in the past two decades.  New spaces for Indigenous rights advocacy include the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the establishment of which was an important step because for years indigenous peoples were frustrated at having to present their arguments in reductionist terms of human rights, the environment, or biodiversity.  The triumphant culmination of Indigenous human rights advocacy is bound in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007.[71]  And important victories in international courts, such as the decision in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to hold the state of Nicaragua responsible for permitting a company to build roads and log forests on Awas Tingni lands (enforcement of the decision was made a condition for a World Bank loan to Nicaragua), signal a movement towards Indigenous collective rights.[72]

            These pages thus far have focused on negative impacts, but some aspects of globalization can also work to the advantage of an Indigenous group.  For example, the presence of NGOs or other outside entities may sometimes limit the ability of national governments, powerful companies, or local elites to violently repress Indigenous movements for social justice.[73]  Even the rules of the WTO may sometimes be useful to an indigenous organization in its local political battles.[74]  Secwepemc leader Arthur Manuel, for example, argues that Canadian refusal to recognize Indigenous rights and sovereignty in areas logged of softwood lumber constitutes an illegal export subsidy under the guidelines set out by the WTO.[75]  The U.S. unilaterally imposed high tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which it claimed where heavily subsidized by Canada – an “unfair trade practice” under WTO rules.  The Canadian constitution recognizes and affirms Aboriginal Title to all lands that have not been the subject of treaties between Canada and Indian nations.  Manuel focuses on British Columbia, where there have been no such treaties for almost all of the logged lands.  He argues that the Canadian government thus acted illegally by giving free logging concessions on forest lands to corporations.  Neither the government nor the companies have compensated Indian nations neither for the use of the resource nor for damage to the lands, and he argues that these actions are thus an illegal subsidy for Canadian softwood exports.  He also states that the government actions violate the “prior informed consent” requirement before any development is to take place on Indigenous peoples’ lands (ILO, Convention on Biological Diversity Article 8j, and pending UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).  Manuel argues that this basic argument can be useful for Indigenous people around the world who fight the extraction of timber, oil, minerals, fish, freshwater, etc. from their lands. Manuel’s organization, the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade has at least received an audience (via acceptance of amicus curiae briefs in 2002) from the WTO, which he says is “the first time ever that the WTO or any other trade bureaucracy officially accepted substantive Indigenous submissions on a pending case, thus finally recognizing our legal standing” (emphasis in original). Manuel sees this acceptance of the briefs by the WTO as showing promise that Indigenous people can find some new opportunities in globalization, as this otherwise “dangerous bureaucracy” provides a medium through which Indigenous people can seek justice via the “hard” enforcement mechanisms (e.g. sanctions) of trade law (as opposed to the harder-to-enforce “soft” mediums of human rights and environmental law).

Given what sometimes seems like the inevitability of globalization, it is inspiring that those people who value health, security, and community can sometimes refashion its manifestations into tools of resistance and solidarity.  In fact there is good reason for hope. The resistance of many Indigenous people to the effects of globalization has arisen not from abstract concerns, but from real struggles for control over and access to their land, knowledge, and resources.  It is from these local, real-life struggles that a movement of Indigenous peoples around the world has grown.[76]  In part it is by their efforts that “globalization” is not accepted as a nearly-unquestioned “good” the way that “development” (or more recently, “sustainable development”) is in popular discourse.

For educators who want to include studying impacts on Indigenous peoples into their globalization curriculum, it is crucial not to lose sight of the issue-specific, pragmatic nature of Indigenous resistance movements.  It’s necessary to differentiate between particular places and situations, tied to real local histories—it’s neither useful nor interesting to students to make blanket statements about how “Indigenous culture” has been affected by globalization.  It is hoped that this curriculum provides a framework and resources with which to begin this task.

[1] This phenomenon is not new, although processes of globalization have increased the scale and frequency of such conflicts of perspective.  The contradictions between indigenous and capitalist modes of production, and the tensions generated by their intersection, have deep historical roots in the process of colonization.  Anthropologist Eric Wolf’s classic Europe and the People Without History (Univ. of Cal. Press, 1982) is one of the most comprehensive works on this theme.

[2] Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, an Igorot activist from the Philippines, summarizes the difference when she writes that:

[i]ndustrialized culture regards our values as unscientific obstacles to modernization and thus worthy of ridicule, suppression, and denigration. The industrial world also views our political, social, and land-tenure traditions as dangerous: our collective identities; our communal ownership of forests, waters, and lands; our usufruct system of community sharing, and our consensus decision-making are all antithetical to the capitalist hallmarks of individualism and private property.”  Our Right to Remain Separate and Distinct, in Paradigm Wars:  Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Economic Globalization 10-11 (hereinafter Paradigm Wars) (Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, eds., 2005).

[3] A leader of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, Secwepemc author Arthur Manuel writes:

 Mainstream economists tend to value development strategies solely in terms of their wealth generation potential for industry and governments.  So resources are viewed in strictly monetary terms.  But indigenous peoples consider the value of land and resources in far broader, more integrated terms, including cultural, social, spiritual and environmental values, and their sustainability.  Among indigenous peoples, decisions about caring for resources and the environment are usually made as part of a collective process, where the community takes into account a full spectrum of values and benefits other than short-term economic gains.

Indigenous Brief to WTO: How the Denial of Aboriginal Title Serves as an Illegal Export Subsidy, in Paradigm Wars 177.  See also Stephen Cornell & Joseph P. Kalt, Eds., What Can Tribes Do?  Strategies and Institutions in American Indian Economic Development (1992); Angelique A. EagleWoman, Tribal Nation Economics: Rebuilding Commecial Prosperity in Spite of U.S. Trade Restraints—Recommendations for Economic Revitalization in Indian Country, 44 Tulsa L. Rev. 383 (2008).

[4] For an attempt to correlate levels of knowledge of a ecosystem with the number of generations that a people have been living in a particular place, and a description of the means by which knowledge of sustainable economic practices becomes incorporated into the sacred practices and beliefs of a community, see F. Berkes, C. Folke, and M. Gadgil, Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Biodiversity, Resilience, and Sustainability, in Biodiversity Conservation 281-289. (C.A. Perry, ed.) (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995).

[5] Victor Menotti, How the World Trade Organization (WTO) Diminishes Native Sovereignty, in Paradigm Wars 46-57.  Undeniably, the legal and political systems of the nation-state have also enabled the persecution of indigenous peoples; nevertheless, Menotti’s point that some hard-fought gains on a national level are put at risk by WTO authority is well taken.

[6] Investment in infrastructure to provide water to a small village, for example, may not make business sense if the number of users is too small or too poor to provide a return on the initial construction costs.  A national or local government agency may choose to pursue such a project either out of social responsibility or in response to political pressure, but a private company is less likely to do so.  Additionally, costs of basic services such as water often rise under privatization as companies seek to increase profits, a change that can result in a loss of access for poor people.  See also Water Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Survival Quarterly, Winter 2006.

[7] Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, World Bank and IMF Impacts on Indigenous Economies, in Paradigm Wars 40.

[8] Antonia Juhasz, Global Water Wars, in Paradigm Wars 88-93.

[9] Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, World Bank and IMF Impacts on Indigenous Economies, in PARADIGM WARS 40.  For a specific overview of how a SAP resulted in an impoverishment of small-scale farmers as measured by household nutrition studies, see Wycliffe Chilowa, The Impact of Agricultural Liberalization on Food Security in Malawi, Food Policy 23(6): 553-569 (1998).  For an examination of how SAPs lead to environmental degradation as rural people are forced into vulnerable situations, see David Kaimowitz, Graham Thiele, and Pablo Pacheco, The Effects of Structural Adjustment on Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Lowland Bolivia, World Development 27(3): 505-520 (1999).

                [10]] See generally, Symposium: Trade and Foreign Investment in the Americas: The Impact on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment, 14 Mich. St. J. Int’l. L., Issues 2 & 3 (2006).

[11] Victor Menotti, How the World Trade Organization (WTO) Diminishes Native Sovereignty, in Paradigm Wars 46-57.  Chillingly, Menotti notes that under current GATT rules it would thus have been impossible to boycott South African goods during apartheid.

[12] Id.

            [13] Gonzalo Fanjul and Arabella Fraser, Dumping without Borders: How U.S. Agricultural Policies are Destroying the Livelihoods of Mexican Corn Farmers, Oxfam Briefing Paper No.. 50 (2003).

            [14] William Robinson deals extensively with this topic of Nontraditional Agricultural Exports (NTAEs) in his magisterial work on how current trends represent a qualitative shift in the interaction of the global and local economies.  Transnational Conflicts: Central America, Social Change, and Globalization (2003).  Victor Menotti shares Robinson’s perspective when he writes:

WTO rules on farming are essentially designed to “open up” foreign markets for large-scale luxury export producers.  The rules therefore offer great incentives for nations to emphasize expanding and supporting export-oriented industrial agricultural production at the expense of small, traditional, indigenous producers who grow food for local markets and communities.  Discriminating in favor of this kind of massive monocultural production – especially when it is of exotic commodities not usually produced in a locale, such as export beef, or luxury vegetables, or soya, or exotic flowers – brings enormous environmental problems on lands that have often been occupied by indigenous peoples for millennia.  Aside from the various pollutions from industrial intensive production, large new infrastructure systems are required to bring the products from distant locations to seaports and airports and then across oceans.  Very often these new roads, canals, pipelines, and ports are built directly on indigenous lands, without prior approval, causing huge conflict” (emphasis added). 

Victor Menotti, How the World Trade Organization (WTO) Diminishes Native Sovereignty, in Paradigm Wars 46-57, at 51.

[15] Victor Menotti, How the World Trade Organization (WTO) Diminishes Native Sovereignty, in Paradigm Wars 46-57, at 52.

[16] Briefing Reports, in Paradigm Wars 148-149.

[17] Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, World Bank and IMF Impacts on Indigenous Economies, in PARADIGM WARS at 37.

[18] Janet Lloyd, Atossa Soltani, and Kevin Koenig of Amazon Watch provide specific case studies in their chapter Infrastructure Development in South American Amazon, in Paradigm Wars 76-82.

[19] Regarding dams, indigenous rights organizations have achieved partial progress. In the 1994 Manibeli Declaration more than 2000 civil society organizations called for comprehensive review of all World Bank-funded dam projects. Responding to consistent pressure, in 1998 the World Bank agreed to support the creation of the World Commission on Dams, with specific memberships reserved for indigenous groups’ representatives on both the commission council and a consultative forum. The WCD process has since been widely praised by indigenous peoples both because of the required indigenous membership and because the final WCD guidelines for sustainable dam development fully recognize indigenous peoples’ right to “free prior and informed consent” (FPIC) and establishes that FPIC is a process whereby each stage of a project cycle is subject to prior agreement by potentially affected indigenous and tribal peoples.  However, various indigenous organizations have since accused the Bank of failing to act on WCD recommendations, as the Bank has only committed to using the reports produced by the Commission as a “valuable reference” and has not incorporated its major recommendations into its revised policy on indigenous peoples and its other mandatory safeguard policies.  Tom Griffiths provides a detailed account of this process in his excellent critical summary of World Bank actions to include participation of indigenous peoples, and the shortcomings and failings of such actions.  See especially Indigenous Peoples and the World Bank:  Experiences with Participation 8-10 (Forest Peoples Programme, 2005), available at

[20] Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, World Bank and IMF Impacts on Indigenous Economies, in PARADIGM WARS 40.  See also Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Parshuram Tamang, Oil Palm and Other Commercial Tree Plantations, Monocropping: Impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ Land Tenure and Resource Management Systems and Livelihoods, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Sixth Session, E/C.19/2007/CRP.6, May 7, 2007.   Given such impacts, one wonders why the US would continue to support large World Bank-funded infrastructure projects.  Lawrence Summers, then Undersecretary of International Affairs at the Treasury Department, offered a partial explanation when he estimated in a 1995 Congressional hearing that for every $1 that the US contributes to World Bank, US corporations get $1.30 in procurement contracts (40).  See also Ana Natsvlishvili, The Impact of Globalization on Human Rights in the Developing World: Transnational Corporations and Human Rights—The Masterpieces of Globalization in the Era of Democratized Violence (2007), available at (discussing toxic practices of the Freeport-McMaron mining company in Indonesia).

                [21] See generally Suzana Sawyer and Terence Gomez, Identity, Power,  and Rights: Paradoxes of Neoliberalism in the Context of Resource Extraction (2007).

[22] The Niger Delta situation is well-known perhaps only because active resistance by local populations has drawn press coverage.  A February 2006 N.Y. Times article, for example, focused on the abduction of foreign workers and several acts of pipeline sabotage by “Nigerian militants,” noting only in one sentence at the end that “militancy in the delta…. is rooted in the extreme poverty of the majority who live there.”  Nigerian Militants Assault Oil Industry, Abducting 9 Foreigners. N.Y. Times, Feb. 19, 2006.

[23] For a more detailed account of Shell’s history in the Niger Delta region, see Oronto Douglas & Ike Okanta, Ogoni People of Nigeria vs. Big Oil, in Paradigm Wars 128-132.

                [24] See Michael Halewood, Indigenous and Local Knowledge in International Law: A Preface to Sui Generis Intellectual Property Protection, 44 McGill L. J. 953 (1999); Nancy Kremers, Speaking With a Forked Tongue in the Global Debate on Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources: Are U.S. Intellectual Property Law and Policy Really Aimed at Meaningful Protection for Native American Cultures?, 15 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 1 (2004).

[25] Cindy Hamilton, The Human Genome Diversity Project and the New Biological Imperialism, 106 Santa Clara L. Rev. 619-643 (2001).

[26] See especially  Marouf Hasian, Jr. & Emily Plec. Remembrances of Things Past: A Postcolonial Critique of the Human Genetic Diversity Project, in New Approaches to Rhetoric 120-21  (Patricia Sullivan and Steven Goldzwig, eds. Sage Publications 2004). See also Andrew Kimbrell, Bicolonization, in The Case Against the Global Economy at 131-145 (Jerry Mander & Edward Goldsmith eds., 1996).

[27] Benjamin Pimentel, DNA Study of Human Migration: National Geographic and IBM Investigate Spread of Prehistoric Peoples around World, S.F. Chron., Apr. 13, 2005, at A1.

[28] Quoted in Paul Salopek, Genes Offer Sampling of Hope and Fear: Cures Possible, But Groups Worry about Exploitation Chi. Trib, Apr. 28, 1997, at 18.

[29] For an eloquent critique of the HGDP, see Debra Harry. The Human Genome Diversity Project: Implications for Indigenous Peoples, available at 1995.  See also Steve Connor, How Accusations of Racism Ended the Plan to Map the Genetic Diversity of Mankind, The Indep. (London), Sept. 10, 2001, at 3; Andrew Kimbrell, Bicolonization, in The Case Against the Global Economy at 142 (Jerry Mander & Edward Goldsmith eds., 1996). Marouf Hasian, Jr. & Emily Plec. Remembrances of Things Past: A Postcolonial Critique of the Human Genetic Diversity Project, in New Approaches to Rhetoric 120-121, at 113, 119 (Patricia Sullivan and Steven Goldzwig, eds. Sage Publications 2004). Cindy Hamilton, The Human Genome Diversity Project and the New Biological Imperialism, 106 Santa Clara L. Rev. 619-643, at 620-625 (2001). Advocates for indigenous peoples portrayed it as a ''vampire project'' for extracting valuable medical information from the blood of endangered tribes in return for virtually nothing, while the potential for commercial exploitation of this information (via gene patenting) raised suspicions that Western drug companies would develop and patent lucrative new treatments based on the DNA of the poor and dispossessed.  These arguments are well-summarized by journalist Nicholas Wade, Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, N.Y. Times, Apr. 13, 2005, at A16.

[30] Connor, id. at 3-4.

[31] For example, Dr. Cavalli-Sforza, project leader of the HGDP, is an advisor to the Genographic Program. Nicholas Wade, Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, N.Y. Times, Apr. 13, 2005, at A16.   In another telling statement, the new project leader, Spencer Wells, wrote recently, “We sincerely believe this may be the last generation for many indigenous populations and we are eager to collaborate with them.” Last Chance for Indigenous Gene Research, The Australian, May 10, 2005, at 39.  Regarding the Genographic Program, see also Benjamin Pimentel, DNA Study of Human Migration: National Geographic and IBM Investigate Spread of Prehistoric Peoples around World, S.F. Chron., Apr. 13, 2005, at A1; and John Vidal, History Repeated,The Observer, Apr. 20, 2005, at 12.

[32] Nicholas Wade, Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, N.Y. Times, Apr. 13, 2005, at A16.

[33] Id at 16-17.

[34] Quoted in Vidal, 12.

[35] Importantly, genetic material from the projects will not be cultured into new cell lines as it was in the HGDP.  The material will stay in the form of raw DNA, which degrades over time and is not easily shared.  Use by other scientists and appropriation via patenting is thus made more difficult. Nicholas Wade, Geographic Society is Seeking a Genealogy of Humankind, N.Y. Times, Apr. 13, 2005, at 17.  A spokesman for IBM has stated that no medical studies will be conducted and no data commercialized, although it does not appear that such uses are explicitly prohibited.  See Our Family Tree, New Scientist, Apr. 16, 2005, at 6.

[36] See generally Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions/Folklore,  Article 27.3(b) of TRIPs is crucial in privileging rights of life sciences companies to exclusive use over patented life forms, although the patent-seekers need to demonstrate some modification of the organism.  For a more detailed discussion of this article and other mechanisms by which farmers who practice traditional seed saving and sharing are criminalized because the seeds that their communities developed are now “owned” by corporations, see Vandana Shiva, TRIPs Agreement: From the Commons to Corporate Patents on Life, in Paradigm Wars 68-71.

[37] See Debra Harry. High-Tech Invasion: Biocolonialism, in Paradigm Wars 62.  Harry also discusses the 2006 meetings of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Ad-hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing.  While these meetings are likely to better specify (on the nation-state level) how benefits of commercializing genetic resources should be distributed between industrialized and developing countries, the focus on “benefit sharing” even if indigenous peoples receive some compensation obscures the important stipulation that the nation-state will be granted absolute sovereignty over genetic resources even if located on indigenous lands.

[38] See Vandana Shiva, TRIPs Agreement: From the Commons to Corporate Patents on Life, in Paradigm Wars 68-71.

[39] See  Ramachandra Guha.  Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique, 11 Envtl. Ethics 75 (1989).  Guha goes on to argue that because environmentalism has become equated with wilderness preservation, environmental problems that impinge far more directly on the lives of the poor -- e.g., lack of fuel and fodder, water shortages, soil erosion, and air and water pollution -- have not been adequately addressed.  Finally, he contends that an overemphasis on wilderness protection in the United States has caused the environmental movement to lose sight of the greater problem of overconsumption of resources, essentially reinforcing such consumption by preserving small parcels of undeveloped land without questioning the unsustainable economic and ecological basis of the society as a whole.

[40] See Mark Dowie. Conservation Refugees, in Paradigm Wars 108; Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees, Orion, See also Mark Dowie, Eviction Slip, Guernica, Igoe, Conservation and Globalization: A Study of National Parks and Indigenous Communities from East Africa to South Dakota (Thomas/Wadsworth Case Studies on Contemporary Social Issues 2004).

[41] The Mexican national press has been closely monitoring this situation and the tensions that it has created with mestizo fishermen.  A good overview is Julieta Martínez, Peligra Etnia Cucapá en Baja California, El Universal, Apr. 24, 2005, at 1.

[42] See Bruce Braun, The Intemperate Rainforest:  Nature, Culture and Power on Canada’s West Coast 88, 94 (Univ. of Minn. Press 2002)

[43] Mark Dowie. Conservation Refugees, in Paradigm Wars 108 at 110-112; At the end of his essay, Dowie sounds a somewhat positive note, writing that some conservation organizations are learning “from bitter experience that national parks and protected areas surrounded by angry, hungry people [are] doomed to fail.”  He quotes one WWF official in Borneo: “It is becoming increasingly evident that conservation objectives can rarely be obtained or sustained by imposing policies that produce negative impacts on indigenous peoples.”

[44] Mark Dowie. Conservation Refugees, in Paradigm Wars 108;

[45] Suzanne York, Mixed Promises of Ecotourism, in Paradigm Wars114-119..  The essay is overall highly critical of ecotourism as a way to strengthen indigenous communities, but notes that if carefully controlled and designed by local people at all stages of the process, it can bring meaningful benefits to a community.  For example, the Toledo Ecotourism Association of Belize and RICANCIE of Ecuador were founded by local indigenous groups and seek to carefully distribute the benefits of such tourism equally among participating villages.  See id. at 118-19.

[46] Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Climate Change in the Arctic, in Paradigm Wars 84-87; Bruce Elliot Johansen, Global Warming in the 21st Century: Melting Ice and Warming Seas 333 (2006).  See also Haider Rizvi, Climatic ‘Life and Death’ Issue for Native Peoples,; Alexei Barrionuevo, Amazon’s ‘Forest Peoples’ Seek a Role in Striking Global Climate Agreements, NY Times, April 6, 2008; Wizipan Garriott, Climate Change: Mitigation Processes of Indigenous Peoples (unpublished paper prepared for Victoria Tauli-Corpuz by the Indigenous Peoples Land & Policy Program, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law) available by request at; IPCCA: Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change in International Processes,

[47] Neil Brodie, Export Deregulation and the Illicit Trade in Archaeological Material, in Legal Perspectives on Cultural Resources 85-99. (Jennifer R. Richman and Marion P. Forsyth, eds., 2004.  See also Patty Gerstenblith, From Steinhardt to Schultz: The McClain Doctrine and the Protection of Archaeological Sites, in id. at 100-118.

[48] Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Sacred Objects, Art, and Nature in a Global Economy, in Paradigm Wars 98-104.

[49] For example, Pueblo artists in New Mexico commonly lament the now-widespread sale of imitation Pueblo pottery manufactured in China.

[50] Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Sacred Objects, Art, and Nature in a Global Economy, in Paradigm Wars 98-104, at 102-103.  See also Graeme Austin, Re-Treating Intellectual Property?: The WAI262 Proceeding and the Heuristics of Intellectual Property Law, 11 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. Law 333 (2003).

                [51] See William Langewiesche, Jungle Law, Vanity Fair 226, May 2007.

[52] See Janet Lloyd, Atossa Soltani, & Kevin Koenig, Infrastructure Development in the South American Amazon, in Paradigm Wars 78.

[53]Author, Pipeline Dreams, Ottawa Citizens, May 9, 2005, at A14.  See also Robert Collier, Battle for Canada’s Underground Resources, S.F. Chron., Mar. 24, 2005; Clifford Krauss, Trout Lake Journal: Natural Gas or Nature in Canada’s Far North, NY Times, Oct. 20, 2003, available at; Imperial Oil Strikes Tentative Deal With Dehcho on Mackenzie Pipeline Land Access, CBCNEWS.CA, Feb. 16, 2009, available at  

[54]  Author, Pipeline Review Challenged, The Gazette (Montreal), Feb. 20, 2006, at A12.

[55] Susan Crate, Cows, Kin, and Karats, Presentation at Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meetings, Vancouver, British Columbia (Mar. 31, 2006).

[56] Carol MacLennan, Mining and Environmental Justice on the South Shore of Lake Superior, Presentation at Society for Applied Anthropology annual meetings, Vancouver, British Columbia (Mar. 30, 2006).   For historical context, see Alice McCombs’ 1995 article on other successful Ojibwa efforts to block American and Canadian mining corporations from establishing operations in their territories, <>

[57] The best overview of the situation can be found in Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner, Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste, N.Y. Times, Dec. 27, 2005, at A1.  See also a Reuters report published in the Times: After Clashes, Indonesian Troops Guard Gold Mine, N.Y. Times, Feb. 25, 2006, at A7.

[58] On the Newmont case, see two articles by Jane Perlez in the N.Y. Times: Gold Mining Company to Pay Indonesia $30 Million, Feb. 17, 2006, at A4; and Indonesian Says Waste from Mine Tainted Fish, Feb. 4, 2006, at A5.

[59] This generalized description is drawn from the conclusions of an extensive specific study.  See Richard W. Stoffle, María Nieves Zedeño, & David B. Halmo, American Indians and the Nevada Test Site:  A Model of Research and Consultation 203-07 (Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, Univ. of Arizona) (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001); Dwight G. Newman, The Duty to Consult: New Relationships with Aboriginal Peoples (2009).

                [60] See generally Hon. John von Doussa, Paper to the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property and the Malaysia Bar Council’s Intellectual Property Committee – Joint Conference [Australia Human Rights Commission Report],; Charles R. McManus, Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge Protection: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, 11 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. L. 547 (2003); Graeme Austin, Retreating Intellectual Property?: The WAI262 Proceeding and the Heuristics of Intellectual Property Law, 11 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. L. 333 (2003); Michael Halwood, Indigenous and Local Knowledge in International Law: A Preface to Sui Generis Intellectual Property Protection, 44 McGill L.J. 953 (1999); Kerry Ten Kato & Sarah Laird,The Commercial Use of Biodiversity: Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (1999); Jack Kloppenburg, Jr., Intellectual Property Rights: The Politics of Ownership,; The Manukan Declaration of the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network (IWBN); Chidi Oguamanam, International Law and Indigenous Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights, Plant Biodiversity, and Traditional Medicine (2006); Convention on Biological Diversity, International Regime on Access and Benefit Shaaring,; Who Owns Native Culture?,; Traditional Knowledge Digital Library,

[61] The following account is drawn from Tom Griffiths, Indigenous Peoples and the World Bank: Experiences with Participation 4-11 (Forest Peoples Programme, 2005), available at

[62] On page 7 of his report, Griffiths quotes an unnamed indigenous representative to a roundtable called by the World Bank in response to these critiques: “It is not a question of how many consultation meetings the Bank has carried out. It is a question of whether or not indigenous peoples who took part in those meetings feel that they have enjoyed proper participation and to what extent they consider that their concerns are being addressed in the revised policy.”  For other indigenous representatives’ responses to this October 2002 meeting at Bank headquarters, see

[63] John Mohawk, Subsistence and Materialism, in Paradigm Wars 23.  Other scholars have focused on what such a philosophy contrasts with.  Indian economist Arunoday Saha has written eloquently of how the promotion of Western technologies is inexorably bound with: 1) the desire to control nature to serve human needs, 2) a reliance on reason to comprehend the world and solve problems, 3) an emphasis on individualism and improvement, and 4) with an acceptance of individual happiness (rather than group welfare) as the supreme good.  His most-cited statement on the subject is Technological Innovation and Western Values, Technology and Society , 20: 499-520 (1998).

[64] Debra Harry. High-Tech Invasion: Biocolonialism, in Paradigm Wars 63-66.  Text of the model law can be found at also Process of Conducting Research on the Hopi Reservation, Arizona, (last visited April 12, 2009); Process of Conducting Research on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona, (last visited April 12, 2009);; Martha Macintyre, Informed Consent and Mining Projects: Some Problems and a Few Tentative Solutions, Mining.pdf; Natalie Piguemal, Four Principles to Guide Research with Aboriginals, Policy Options 49 (December 2000); International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs,; Dwight G. Newman, The Duty to Consult: New Relationships with Aboriginal Peoples (2009).

[65] The outmigration of young people seeking wage economy jobs, an increasingly transnational movement linked to global flows of capital and labor, is a disruptive social force in many indigenous communities.  Duncan Earle and Jeanne Simonelli have noted, for example, that large-scale emigration from lowland Chiapas has threatened to undermine community solidarity in autonomous Zapatista regions.  See especially Uprising of Hope:  Sharing the Zapatista Journey to Alternative Development 193-94 (Alta Mira Press, 2005).

[66] Anthony Bebbington. Modernization from below: An Alternative Indigenous Development?in Economic Geography 69(3): 274-292 (1993).

[67] Anthropologist Sidney Mintz’s Sweetness and Power (Penguin Books, 1986), for example, demonstrates how increasing consumption of sugar in industrializing societies of Europe directly impacted the lives of Caribbean peoples during the colonial period.

[68] See Paradigm Wars 148-49 for an overview of the Plan Puebla-Panama.  The partial success of vehement Zapatista opposition to the Plan is outlined by Duncan Earle and Jeanne Simonelli, Uprising of Hope:  Sharing the Zapatista Journey to Alternative Development 193-94 (Alta Mira Press, 2005).

[69] See Antonia Juhasz. Global Water Wars, in Paradigm Wars 90-91.

[70] Another book by the International Forum on Globalization, Alternatives to Economic Globalization (2004), provides further detail about what it terms “People’s Alternative Initiatives” –efforts around the world to build local economies responsive to local needs.  See especially pages 253-267.  The most famous efforts at alternative development are probably those of the Zapatistas autonomous regions in Lacandon jungle.  Zapatista “solidarity economics” of partial disengagement from the market economy is well-described in Duncan Earle and Jeanne Simonelli, Uprising of Hope:  Sharing the Zapatista Journey to Alternative Development 193-94, at 179-210 (Alta Mira Press, 2005).”  To their credit, the authors rightly acknowledge (although they do not stress the point) that without Zapatista soldiers (both the initial attention from the armed takeover and the threat of disruption that could perturb the investor-friendly climate of Mexico), the new directions in autonomous development and government that they describe might not have been possible.

                [71] See United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,, also available at (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs); see also “Plain Language” version of the [Draft] Declaration,; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, The Prospects Ahead, in Paradigm Wars 183.  See also page 16 of her essay Our Right to Remain Separate and Distinct in the same volume.  There are a number of Nation-States who have reformed or articulated Indigenous respect in their national constitutions.  See Bartolomé Clavero, Cultural Supremacy, Domestic Constitutions, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,; S. James Anaya, Indigenous Peoples in International Law (2nd ed 2004) (See citation p. 94, note 161).  Cf. David Orr, Law of the Land, Orion 18, January/February 2004).

                [72] Symposium, The Case of the Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community v. Nicaragua, 19 Ariz. J. Int’l & Comp. L. – 2002, available at also “International Human Rights Commission Admits Hul’Qumi’Num Treaty Group Case,

[73] Janet Lloyd, Atossa Soltani, and Kevin Koenig provide examples in Infrastructure Development in South American Amazon, in Paradigm Wars 76-82.   In another example, the Accompaniment Project of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala places volunteers side-by-side with indigenous rights activists who might otherwise be at higher risk of retaliation for their political activities.

[74] One can argue that even WTO rules which work against indigenous groups may not have teeth in all cases.  Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson notes that Article 46 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that while rules such as those of the WTO normally trump domestic laws, they do not do so in the case of “fundamentally important” internal laws. She argues, specifically with regards to Canada, that fiduciary obligations to aboriginal interests are of such fundamental importance. Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Sacred Objects, Art, and Nature in a Global Economy, in Paradigm Wars 98-104, at 103-104.

[75] Arthur Manuel. Indigenous Brief to WTO: How the Denial of Aboriginal Title Serves an an Illegal Export Subsidy, in Paradigm Wars 172-178.

[76] Paradigm Wars provides numerous examples of pan-indigenous movements to block WTO expansion at a 2003 Cancún summit, declare solidarity against the patenting of life forms, seek protection for small-scale agricultural producers, and lobby for recognition of the right for indigenous groups to annul projects on their lands to which they do not give free prior informed consent.  See esp. pages 11, 50, 59-60, and 218-220.