New World of Indigenous Resistance: Noam Chomsky and Voices from North, South, and Central America (Paperback)
Indigenous societies today face difficult choices: can they develop, modernize, and advance without endangering their sacred traditions and communal identity? Specifically, can their communities benefit from national education while resisting the tendency of state-imposed programs to undermine their cultural sovereignty, language, and traditions? According to Lois Meyer and Benjamin Maldonado, these are among the core questions being raised by indigenous societies whose "comunalidad"or communal way of lifeis at odds with the dictates of big business and the social programs of the state.
To explore these issues in depth, Meyer and Maldonado conducted a series of dialogues with Noam Chomsky, and invited numerous organizers and intellectuals from indigenous communities of resistance to comment. In three in-depth conversations, Chomsky offers poignant lessons from his vast knowledge of world history, linguistics, economics, anti-authoritarian philosophy, and personal experience, and traces numerous parallels with other peoples who have resisted state power while attempting to modernize, develop, survive, and sustain their unique community identity and tradition. Following the interviews are commentaries from more than a dozen activists and intellectuals from the Americas, who speak from their own on-the-ground experiences and work with indigenous communities in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and Panama.
This is a powerful reflection on the interconnected issues of education, cultural preservation, globalization, forms of resistance, and possibilities for hope on local, regional, and national levels.
About the Author
Applied linguist and Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In a decade of close collaboration with the Coalition of Indigenous Teachers and Promoters of Oaxaca, she has guided projects and written books and articles on indigenous bilingual education and language revitalization in Mexico.
Benjamin Maldonado Alvarado is a Mexican anthropologist who has resided in Oaxaca for more than 30 years as a collaborator of various indigenous organizations and institutions and author of various books on indigenous "comunalidad." He is presently consultant to the alternative Communal Middle Schools of Oaxaca and also the Academic Director of the Integrated Communal High Schools.
"The key issue facing indigenous peoples as they gain new rights and raise their profile within Latin America's newly democratic states is how to reconcile the cultural inheritance that makes them indigenous with forces that aim to tether them to national identities or unleash upon them the corrosive acculturation implied by globalization. . . . This collection of commentaries - framed by the wisdom of Noam Chomsky - offers an excellent point of departure for the student interested in addressing such questions. With a significant focus on education, the writers address the thorny yet timeless issue of how to reconcile the ancient with the modern. . . . If there is one theme that emerges, it is of the potential for inter-communal co-operation and the concrete benefits diversity can bring to Latin American social life." --Gavin O'Toole, The Latin American Review of Books
"An exhaustive, thought-provoking presentation of timely arguments that will be of interest to readers and students interested in how indigenous communities can continue to survive in sync with the outside world without being smothered by it."-Deborah Donovan --Booklist
"Two direct interviews with Chomsky enhance this articulate examination of challenges facing indigenous peoples today, including a positive viewpoint of means by which indigenous cultures can resist total assimilation, endure and spread hope. Highly recommended." --The Midwest Book Review
"[New World of Indigenous Resistance] bills itself as a virtual hemispheric' conversation" and claims to be the first book of its kind. It is certainly an eye-opener. . . .a book that could change the way its readers think about education forever." --Green Left
"This book is unique, thought-provoking and inspiring. The voices included in this edited collection, most of them unheard in mainstream Western academia, not only denounce the crimes committed against Indigenous peoples, but also reflect decades of Indigenous struggle, resistance, hope and commitment. . . . This book speaks to students, teachers, administrators and researchers from different disciplines and invites them to work together and follow the exemplary struggles of Indigenous peoples in different parts of America." --Teachers College Record
"For those interested in Chomsky, a very intriguing book was published last year in which a group of indigenous people from around Latin America invited Chomsky to be part of 'hemispheric conversation between equals.' Two interviews with Chomsky were used as the starting point for a wide array of responses from 'renowned activists, educators and scholars from the indigenous Americas,' discussing issues of concern to the original people of the Americas." - Peace News