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In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization

Mario Blaser, Harvey A. Feit, and Glenn McRae

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This book brings together very insightful analyses of indigenous experience and strategies in the context of globalization from several continents and a number of theoretical perspectives. There are broad similarities making this a common struggle but the solutions arise from people solving problems in local contexts. Read this book and you will see that the debate is a very important one for the furtherance of human rights, for the future of these ancient traditions, and for the promotion of cultural, political and economic diversity everywhere.
— Grand Chief Dr Ted Moses, Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

Indigenous peoples today are enmeshed in the expanding modern economy, subject to the pressures of both market and government. This book takes indigenous peoples as actors, not victims, as its starting point in analyzing this interaction. It assembles a rich diversity of statements, case studies, and wider thematic explorations, primarily from North America, and particularly the Cree, the Haudenausaunee (Iroquois), and Chippewa-Ojibwe peoples who straddle the US/Canada border, but also from South America and the former Soviet Union. It explores the complex relationships between indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society, and the environment. It shows how the boundaries between indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society, the state, markets, development, and the environment are ambiguous and constantly changing. These complexities create both opportunities and threats for local agency. People resist or react to the pressures of market and state, while sustaining “life projects” of their own, embodying their own local history, visions, and strategies.

The editors

Mario Blaser is an Argentinian-Canadian anthropologist who has worked and collaborated with a variety of endeavours undertaken by the Yshiro people since 1991. His scholarly work focuses on exploring the epistemological and political possibilities of non-modern ways of knowing.

Harvey A. Feit is Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University. He was an advisor to the Grand Council of the Crees during their 1972–1978 treaty process. His research is on how Cree epistemology shapes conservation practices and how these inform political relationships.

Glenn McRae is an applied anthropologist who has worked extensively throughout the United States, India, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America as an environmental consultant. He has a doctorate from the Union Institute & University, and he teaches at the University of Vermont.