Indigenous Issues

References and Links to Papers

July 2019

Southern Green Cultural Criminology and Environmental Crime Prevention: Representations of Nature Within Four Colombian Indigenous Communities

This exploratory study develops a “southern green cultural criminology” approach to the prevention of environmental harms and crimes. The main aim is to understand differing cultural representations of nature, including wildlife, present within four Colombian Indigenous communities to evaluate whether they encourage environmentally friendly human interactions with the natural world, and if so, how. The study draws on primary data gathered by the Indigenous authors (peer researchers) of this article via a set of interviews with representatives of these four communities. We argue that the cosmologies that these communities live by signal practical ways of achieving ecological justice and challenging anthropocentrism.

August 2020

Politics and Indigenous Victimization: The Case of Brazil

There is a dearth of criminological scholarship on how the political persuasions of governments affect Indigenous people as it relates to human rights and environmental consequences, whether positive or negative, for Indigenous peoples. To address this gap, we develop a comparative instrumental case study of the policies concerning Indigenous peoples implemented during two political periods in Brazil: the administrations of presidents Silva (2003–2010) and Rousseff (2011–2016) and the administrations of Temer (2016–2018) and Bolsonaro (2019–). We explore the consequences for Indigenous peoples of these leftist and the right-wing governments. We argue that governments of both political leanings victimize Indigenous populations, with leftist governments using structural violence and right-wing governments engaging additionally in symbolic and direct violence.

February 2021

Genocide and ecocide in four Colombian Indigenous Communities: the Erosion of a way of life and memory

Generally, the traditional Indigenous ways of ‘knowing and seeing’ the natural world lead to more protective behaviours than the dominating economic approach that represents the interests of the global North. Indigenous ways of living and remembering are however, currently threatened with erosion by several global dynamics. While many of the most powerful forces involved in the extinguishment of Indigenous peoples and their cultures are visible and direct forms of violence, there are also structural, systemic and invisible factors at play. In this article, based on original primary data collected within communities of four Colombian Indigenous peoples, we identify the four main silent dynamics producing the extinction of Indigenous cultures in Colombia. We refer to the operation of these forces as a form of genocide and connect them to the simultaneous occurrence of an ecocide.

September 2021

Indigenous Worlds and Criminological Exclusion: A Call to Reorientate the Criminological Compass

Indigenous peoples, their cultures and territories, have been subjected to continuous victimisation, plunder and genocide throughout history—or at least ‘history’ as created by and written from the North. Since contact with colonisers, these many different peoples have suffered legal and illegal forms of direct, structural and symbolic violence. Meanwhile, criminology—the discipline concerned with studying instances of criminality, harm and victimisation—has largely remained untouched by or indifferent to serious crimes and systematic attacks that have increased mortality, denied rights and destroyed traditional ways of life. In this article, we first present a bibliographical analysis of relevant content in leading criminology journals. We then suggest a conceptual and theoretical basis for enhancing an ethical and non-colonial engagement with this underdeveloped field of work. We conclude, however, that to counter the under-representation of Indigenous explorations and contributors in criminology, a broader transformation of the discipline will be necessary.

November 2022

‘An incorporeal disease’: COVID-19, social trauma and health injustice in four Colombian Indigenous communities

Worldwide, medical doctors and lawyers cooperate in health justice projects. These professionals pursue the ideal that, one day, every individual on Earth will be equally protected from the hazards that impair health. The main hindrances to health justice are discrimination, poverty and segregation, but we know that beyond concrete, quantifiable barriers, symbolic elements such as beliefs and fears also play a significant role in perpetuating health injustice. So, between March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and June 2021, when vaccines against the virus were globally available, we collected original information about the ways in which four Colombian Indigenous communities confronted COVID-19. Knowing that Colombian Indigenous communities often face health injustices, our goal was to understand the role of symbolic elements in the situation. Our main insight is that historical genocidal processes, in which the powerful have betrayed the trust of Indigenous communities, have created a trauma in the latter, resulting in reluctance and suspicion regarding the acceptance of ‘gifts’ from external sources, including potentially beneficial health treatments.