(1999) JLP 43: 145-158
MULTI-ETHNICITY, THE STATE AND THE LAW IN
Indigenous peoples in Latin America have developed new forms of activism against state projects aimed at their social integration and entailing the expropriation of their lands. Their expressed claims to self-determination or autonomy have influenced the reforms of state constitutions and other laws, and have stimulated a wide interest in issues of ethnicity, as evidenced by the six volumes discussed in this article.
Constitutional frameworks in a number of Latin American countries now formally consolidate indigenous peoples' rights, including those to traditional lands, and to retain their own customs and institutions, including their customary laws and disputing processes. When these legal developments have been put into effect, numerous conflicts have arisen, including those between the substance of state laws and customary laws, between the human rights provisions of state laws and the values of customary laws, and between different groups within indigenous peoples. The books reviewed discuss these issues, and give accounts of various indigenous laws which illustrate them. The debates are intense, and are certain to continue as countries seek to effectuate the formal recognition of pluralism and multiethnicity.