This chapter discusses indigenous peoples as agents of geopolitical change.
It reviews strands of work in geography that discuss indigenous peoples and
geopolitical issues of territory, identity and subject-formation. As I hope to
show here, indigenous people are more than merely agents of a parochial form
of geopolitics - this is no 'niche' form of 'minority studies' within the political
geographical tradition. Rather, manifold engagements with indigenous peoples
- in colonial encounters, in government policy, in the spaces of contemporary
everyday life- have deeply shaped the world we now know. Examinations of
indigenous peoples and geopolitics bring into sharp relief questions of land and
control, resources and livelihoods, agency and cultural identity- processes that as
Glassman argued, affect literally billions of people (2006: 609). In more subtle ways,
too, the manner in which indigenous people have been conceptualized historically
has shaped both geopolitical relations globally and the broader handling of human
cultural and geographical difference.