Indigenous nationhood can save the world. Here's how

“For centuries, the Westphalian nation-state has fuelled a cycle of greed, protectionism and violence – and Indigenous people are still resisting that legacy today. Niigaan Sinclair imagines how we can break that cycle

Neo-liberalism and capitalist political movements – often called "development" – always come at the cost of Indigenous nations and citizens. In the great march towards free trade, "open" borders, and "first-world" status, Indigenous nations fight for lives and futures against global superpowers, stubbornly maintaining sovereignties and stewardships while refusing to acquiesce to erasure and death.

We can see this struggle nearly every day in "ethnic battles" in the Americas to the Middle East. At the base of these wars is control over territories and resources. "It is no wonder," Victoria Tauli-Corpuz remarks in Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples Resistance to Globalization, "that rapidly increasing so-called ethnic conflicts in the world are really pitting Indigenous peoples, asserting our rights over our territories, against the global institutions that want to separate us from our land" The solution is simple. Attempts to homogenize, consume, and destroy Indigenous nations must stop. We must be recognized for what we are: different and diverse.

It may just be that Indigenous nations have answers to nearly every single challenge facing nation-states and leading to such wars today. In fact, it may just be that the problem is the nation-state structure itself. As my colleague John Ralston Saul convincingly argued in an article in last week's Globe: what drives European-based nation-states is a delusional sense of racial, cultural, and social uniformity and sameness that always ends in violence and genocide. Humans simply aren't meant to be so reduced.”

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