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Native Policy

Indianness, National Policy, And Anthropology In The Twenty-first Century

Anthropologists sometimes exaggerate and sometimes underestimate the importance of their work and their ideas to "the real world"—the world of governments and families, health and disease, happiness and despair. But in the case of Indian policy, anthropological knowledge has buttressed and often been the accomplice to national "regimes of truth" about Indian peoples. In the United States, an "official anthropology" funded and sponsored by the federal government has been a historic partner to state Indian policy. In Latin America, such an official anthropology has generally not had the same effects historically, with the exception of Brazil and Mexico. However, the rise of indigenous movements demanding control over lands and resources will likely oblige Latin American governments to act as "gatekeepers" and to utilize anthropological knowledge much more in order to ascertain and legitimize Indian identities in the twenty-first century. Anthropological knowledge in this century will therefore be simultaneously yoked to forging new state–Indian relations and new kinds of Indian policies, while also being engaged in reflective and critical analysis of these new relationships. These often contradictory roles will unfold in both North and Latin America.

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Les W. Field

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mysticism to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotideNative Policy - Anthropology's Changes, Perspectives On Colonialism And Postindependence Latin America, Indian Policies Of The Twentieth-century Nation-states