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ColonialismEthnicityHistoryRaceRacismslavery

What countries have been able to come to resolutions with its indigenous peoples after colonization?

Source: AinoTuominen

Colonisation, largely featured Europeans invading foreign lands and setting themselves up as the superior to the Indigenous populations. This largely had devastating effects, slavery, the transmission of foreign disease wiping out whole populations, ethnic cleansing, the forced settlement into camps,  Residential schools etc.

Some countries such as Jamaica have sought paid reimbursements. Other tribes in Ghana have returned items to their Dutch enslavers. Some indigenous populations still share the land with their colonisers, in America, Canada, Australia, South Africa. How many of these indigenous populations have come to terms with their colonisers, and if so, how?

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New Zealand is a country with a history similar to Canada in many ways, which has arguably done far better at recognizing and protecting indigenous rights. Here is an article you may find interesting: “Why the Indigenous in New Zealand have fared better than those in Canada”

Another interesting case to consider is Bolivia where indigenous individuals constitute the majority of the population. Demographics are an obvious variable which will shape indigenous people’s political voice.

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The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi agreed to shared sovereignty between Maori and the Crown. In the c.20th it was upheld in the courts and led to a significant transfer of resources to the various iwi. This helped a lot. However, it would be very naive to think that the Maori are not significantly disadvantaged and did not face structural discrimination; especially poor urban Maori with no iwi ties. NZ is probably far ahead of other colonial countries with respect to redress and power-sharing, but there is still a long way to go.


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The “average” kiwi is definitely a lot less racist towards non-Europeans, compared to the rest of the colonial Anglosphere. Being a society that tends to celebrate its bi- and multiculturalism helps a lot. This generation’s kiwi kid is likely to, at least, have aunties and uncles from a few cultures. If you look at census stats the group that is perceived as being most discriminated against is Asian; this reflects ongoing fears about the influx of Chinese money and migration into NZ. Maori and Pakeha are about equal in their perception of being discriminated. I would encourage you to explore the data on the census site; it gives a good idea of where the concerns are in NZ. Just be aware that someone being perceived as being discriminated against, also indicates awareness of their struggles by other groups; it’s a weird statistic, it conflates who might be facing issues and who people worry about facing issues.

This is a very long winded way of saying that what truly differentiates NZ from other countries is the general willingness to engage with the issues at hand, compared to the seething resentment in many other post colonial countries. However, NZ being seen as a poster child for race relations tells you more about the horrific state of them in post-colonial states, rather than the issues facing Aotearoa.

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