Indigenous Law and its Contribution to Global Pluralism

11 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2009

See all articles by S. James Anaya

S. James Anaya

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: October 7, 2009


Over the past 30 years, in a second wave of indigenous advocacy at the international level, Indigenous Peoples have not only taken advantage of changes in the character of inter-national law and its embrace of human rights for their own purposes, but have also contributed to further changes to important structural components of the international law system which have broader implications. This despite – or because of – legal and political barriers in their own countries and states. The author lists the four fronts on which Indigenous Peoples have made significant strides toward contributing to a greater pluralism in the global legal and political landscape: a move toward recognition of collective human rights, which have as their basis Indigenous tradition and customary law; a weakening of the state sovereignty shield and greater state accountability to individuals and groups; self-determination in context-specific relationships rather than in the establishment of independent states; and increases in the influence of non-state actors, including NGO’s and Indigenous Peoples. He also expresses continued optimism that Indigenous Peoples will effect additional beneficial change at international level, for themselves and others in pluralistic societies.

Keywords: Indigenous Peoples, human rights, self-determination, international law

Suggested Citation

Anaya, S. James, Indigenous Law and its Contribution to Global Pluralism (October 7, 2009). Indigenous Law Journal, Vol. 6, p. 3, 2007, Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No 09-33, Available at SSRN:

S. James Anaya (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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