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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The Round Table
Title The struggle for recognition of the indigenous voice: Amerindians in Guyanese politics
Volume 102
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 367-380
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00358533.2013.795009
In Guyana’s racialised geography, Amerindians live in scattered villages in the vast hinterland that covers 90% of the country. Amerindian iconography is appropriated in state-making, even while Amerindians themselves are consigned to a patron–client relationship with the dominant ‘coastlander’ society. In the late 1950s, Amerindians made up only 4% of the national population but voted as a bloc in the national elections of 1957, 1961 and 1964, rallying around Stephen Campbell, the first Amerindian member of the legislature. Their unified position allowed their political leaders to negotiate a commitment to the settlement of Amerindian land claims as a condition of Independence in 1966. After losing its parliamentary majority in 2011, the coastlander-based party in power has been working to disrupt cohesion among Amerindian community leaders. The government uses a variety of funds to reward community leaders who will sign pre-prepared resolutions at the statutory National Toshaos Council meetings, and denies funds to leaders and communities that protest at government neglect and mismanagement of the traditional areas claimed by the indigenous peoples.

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