Opportunities for transnational indigenous eco-politics: the changing landscape in the new millennium



Abstract In the late 1980s, Amazonian indigenous peoples captured the imagination of northern policy circles and the larger public by strategically representing themselves as the solution to the environment-development quandary. They accomplished this in part through linkages to northern environmental and human rights organizations. The formation of such transnational networks was made possible by a uniquely favourable cultural, political and economic climate that increased indigenous peoples’international visibility. Since that time, however, the landscape has changed and constricted earlier opportunities. Salient shifts include the ideological and financial polarization of the rainforest movement, a relative absence of Amazonian issues from international mass media and, overall, a devaluing of indigenous identity. The Amazon Alliance, a coalition formed out of a 1990 meeting between Amazonian indigenous groups and northern non-governmental organizations, is the point of departure for a larger discussion of the changing landscape of opportunities for transnational indigenous eco-politics.