Indigenous Rights in Latin America: A Legal Historical Perspective
Dubber, Markus/Tomlins, Chris (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Historical Legal Research, Oxford University Press, 2017
Max Planck Institute for European Legal History Research Paper Series No. 2017-02
21 Pages Posted: 31 May 2017 Last revised: 15 Feb 2020
Date Written: May 26, 2017
According to international and national constitutional law, indigenous peoples in most Latin American countries have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions. As a consequence of this and of a long and ongoing process of political debate and recognition, ever more indigenous peoples are practicing their own laws, following their own cultural traditions and customs. In doing so, they often draw on history, recreating their identities and reconstructing their distinct legal pasts. At the same time, historical research has increasingly pointed out the intense interaction between indigenous peoples and European invaders during colonial period. It has become clear that it is difficult to draw a clear line between purely ‘indigenous’ and ‘colonial’ legal traditions due to the hybridisation of indigenous and colonial laws and legal practices. The aim of this paper is to introduce this historiography and its relevance to law and to present some methodological challenges in writing the history of indigenous rights in Latin America resulting from this shift in (legal) historiography.
Keywords: Legal History, Indigenous Rights, Colonial Latin America, Legal Pluralism
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