Edited by R. H. Barnes, Andrew Gray and Benedict Kingsbury
ANN ARBOR, MI: THE ASSOCIATION FOR ASIAN STUDIES, INC., 1995
XII + 539 PAGES
According to its editors, Indigenous Peoples of Asia addresses the “novel” issue of “which groups regard themselves as indigenous peoples, which groups are permitted to regard themselves as indigenous peoples, and which groups succeed in being regarded by governments and international agencies as indigenous peoples” (p. 1). The book’s first four chapters examine the legal concepts of “indigenous peoples,” the growing political indigenous movements in Asia, and indigenous people’s rights and sustainable resources. Immediately the reader is struck by the controversy surrounding definitions which shape the indigenous movement. A general consensus is that indigenous peoples are not so much defined as the original inhabitants of an area. Rather, they are those that have the following: a self-identification as a distinct ethnic group; a historical experience of, or contingent vulnerability to, severe disruption, dislocation, or exploitation; a long connection with the region; and the wish to retain a distinct identity.