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.
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