Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Indigenous movements in Canada and Latin America have adopted contrasting stances in relation to electoral politics. Whereas Indigenous peoples in Latin America have generally made demands on the state through electoral and legislative means, Aboriginal peoples in Canada have tended to reject the electoral process, relying instead on the courts and legal system to press their demands. What explains the variation in Indigenous movement strategies in Canada and Latin America? How effective have the respective strategies been in reintroducing the Indigenous Question into national political debates? This chapter explores the common challenges and pitfalls associated with electoral participation for Indigenous peoples. The chapter contrasts the experiences of Aboriginal peoples in Canada with their counterparts in Ecuador and Bolivia, home to Latin America’s most nationally successful Indigenous-based parties to date. The central argument of the study is that institutional rules and arrangements create incentives for social actors to work from within or outside of the formal political system. Permissive institutional environments, such as the proportional representation systems in Ecuador and Bolivia, create ample opportunities for Indigenous groups to form their own political parties and contest elections. Canada’s “first past the post” electoral system raises significant barriers to new party formation and minority representation. In Ecuador and Bolivia, Indigenous movements entered into mainstream politics in the mid-1990s after electoral reforms created a more favorable set of institutional opportunities. In Canada, voting system reform campaigns have largely been unsuccessful. The chapter also suggests that in areas where Indigenous groups tend to be more isolated or remote from the state and the dominant society, such as the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador and Bolivia and portions of northern Canada, Indigenous peoples are more likely to engage in electoral politics. In such cases, electoral participation serves as a means for excluded groups to gain a political foothold, advance Indigenous agendas, and obtain resources for community development.

Keywords: Indigenous-state relations, Canada, Latin America, elections, representation, participation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.