Indigenous societies throughout Latin America are facing difficult choices. After centuries of colonization, the ongoing struggle to preserve communal knowledge, rituals, language, traditions, and teaching and learning practices has taken on even more significance in the increasingly standardized world of globalization. For many indigenous societies, protecting community-based customs has involved the rejection of state-provided education, raising a series of interconnected issues regarding autonomy, modernity and cultural sustainability.
In New World of Indigenous Resistance, these questions are approached from multiple perspectives by means of an innovative exchange between linguist and human rights advocate Noam Chomsky, and more than twenty scholars, activists and educators from across the Americas.
Two interviews with Chomsky open the exchange with lessons from world history, linguistics, economics and anti-authoritarian philosophy, parallel histories of peoples worldwide who have resisted state power while attempting to sustain or even revitalize community traditions. In response to Chomsky's ideas, voices from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay dray from their first-hand experience and scholarship, speaking to, with, and at times against Chomsky's views. In a final interview Chomsky reflects upon the commentaries; the result is a nuanced intellectual and political exchange—a compelling conversation that offers a contemporary vision of indigenous resistance, survival and hope.
"Two direct interviews with Chomsky enhance this articulate examination of challenges facing indigenous peoples today, including a positive viewpoint of means by which indigenous cultures can resist total assimilation, endure and spread hope. Highly recommended." —Midwest Book Review
"The key issue facing indigenous peoples as they gain new rights and raise their profile within Latin America's newly democratic states is how to reconcile the cultural inheritance that makes them indigenous with forces that aim to tether them to national identities or unleash upon them the corrosive acculturation implied by globalization. . . . This collection of commentaries – framed by the wisdom of Noam Chomsky – offers an excellent point of departure for the student interested in addressing such questions. With a significant focus on education, the writers address the thorny yet timeless issue of how to reconcile the ancient with the modern. . . . If there is one theme that emerges, it is of the potential for inter-communal co-operation and the concrete benefits diversity can bring to Latin American social life." —Gavin O'Toole, Latin American Review of Books
"This book is unique, thought-provoking and inspiring. The voices included in this edited collection, most of them unheard in mainstream Western academia, not only denounce the crimes committed against Indigenous peoples, but also reflect decades of Indigenous struggle, resistance, hope and commitment. . . . This book speaks to students, teachers, administrators and researchers from different disciplines and invites them to work together and follow the exemplary struggles of Indigenous peoples in different parts of America." —Teachers College Record
Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned author, linguist, and advocate for democracy. He is the critically-acclaimed author of many books, including Interventions and Making the Future, both also published by City Lights Publishers. He currently lives in Massachusetts where he is Institute Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT.