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9615 - Impediments/challenges to indigenous leadership.

The dynamics of indigenous positions and politics of leadership in the context of state-led democratization.

Based on experiences from Peru’s Selva Central (Central Amazon) the paper explores the fluidity between two important contexts of contemporary indigenous leadership, one provided by the structure of state-led democratization of government, and the other by existing indigenous organizations. The former currently appears to create serious obstacles to indigenous mobilization and thus challenges indigenous peoples and their leaders to reconsider indigenous politics.

Peruvian legislation from 2002 requires that political parties in regions with large indigenous populations include at least 15 percent indigenous candidates. This has opened up new possibilities for indigenous participation while simultaneously creating conflicts, animosities, and divisions among the indigenous electorate. These divisions ramify into already existing indigenous organizations that are further weakened as qualified leaders are lured into local party-led government where they are offered meagre influence, all the while depriving indigenous organizations of efficient leadership. This pseudo-democratic process reveals the inadequacies of organizational politics until now based primarily on ideas of indigeneity and non-governmental advocacy. Hence, the Peruvian strategy of state-led democratization challenges indigenous peoples into developing political identities and collective aims beyond existing notions of indigeneity and foment political alliances across ethnic and social groups with the aim of producing real social and democratic change.

Palavras-chaves: Indigenous leadership, state-led democracy, Native Amazonia

Autores: Veber, Hanne (University of Copenhagen, Denmark / Dänemark)

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