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Too Much for Too Few: Problems of Indigenous Land Rights in Latin America

Anthony Stocks
Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 34 (2005), pp. 85-104
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25064877
Page Count: 20
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Abstract

In a number of countries in Latin America, recent changes in the constitutional and legislative environment under which indigenous people hold or claim land and natural resource rights have triggered a number of processes and projects to demarcate, legalize, or otherwise consolidate indigenous lands. This review begins with a look at Nicaragua and goes on to examine five of the South American processes, allegedly with the most favorable legal and policy environments, and concludes that they suffer from common problems related to (a) the amount of land and resources being claimed by relatively small numbers of people, (b) the contestation of the claims by non-indigenous sectors, and (c) the nature of indigenous organizations and the NGOs that support them. The confrontation between policy and reality yields some lessons for the future.

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