The Pessimism Traps of Indigenous Resurgence

  • Sheryl R. LightfootEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


The main focus of Indigenous political theory is the assertion of Indigenous nationhood. Despite this seemingly positive orientation, a branch of Indigenous political theory, the resurgence school, is caught in three pessimism traps that limit its ability to create better Indigenous-state relationships. By characterising all Indigenous individuals who engage with states as ‘co-opted’, viewing all states as unified, deliberate and unchanging in their desire to dispossess Indigenous peoples, and viewing all engagement as futile, if not dangerous, the resurgence school forecloses any possibility of negotiated and peaceful co-existence with even the most progressive government. It also creates unnecessary negative feelings and divisions among Indigenous resistance movements who should be pooling limited resources and working together towards better futures for Indigenous peoples.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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