Politicizing ethnicity : the Garifuna land rights struggle on Honduras' north coast
Loperena, Christopher Anthony
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Garifuna land rights activists on the north coast of Honduras are enmeshed in a political struggle to attain territorial autonomy and collective rights over their ancestral lands. I explore the particularities of ethnic politics in the Garifuna Territory, an area comprised of 15 contiguous Garifuna communities straddling the Atlantic littoral of the Departments of Colon and Gracias a Dios. In elaborating the dialectical relationship between the emergence of indigenous rights and the parallel neoliberalization of the national economy, one can begin to understand the strategic mobilization of indigenous alterity in defense of communal lands. The purpose of the present work is to contribute a new perspective to debates surrounding indigenous ethnic politics, to broaden the concept of what constitutes indigeneity and to show how Garifuna ethnic politics dialogue with and contest hegemonic paradigms of indigeneity, citizenship and rights.