Indigenous situated knowledges are increasingly being recognized as an urgent voice in global debates on natural resources, sustainability, heritage, governance, representation, and social justice. Given the current world situation, in which migration, poverty, discrimination and other social forces are compounded by natural disasters and anthropogenic climate change—dismantling any humanist ideals of peace and prosperity—, indigenous epistemologies have become an alternative for re-thinking what Arjun Appadurai has termed an “emancipatory policy” that could address the asymmetries in the distribution of resources, capital, and power in what is now a clearly destabilizing global landscape. How may a position of marginality become a space of power in our contemporary world, a possibility that seems even more relevant today as we contemplate the broad resurgence of indigenous societies in multiple regions and forums? How do indigenous claims to self-representation and cultural production challenge current Western-hegemonic ways of belonging and looking at the world? Seen through the lens of an as-yet unfinished process of decolonization in which “the indigenous” is now being activated and understood through different social, political and aesthetic platforms, contemporary indigenous artistic agents and activists share complex and often conflicting agendas that signal potential points of tension and resistance in the current global scenario.
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