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Discourse on indigenous self-determination in Mexico and Canada and the disparate notions of culture, 1992

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In 1992, the Governor of Chiapas summoned a public hearing to resolve violent conflict in the highland of Chiapas, Mexico, between local political bosses and evangelical proselytizers. The Audiencia Publica in Mexico narrowly focused on the legal status of indigenous cultural self-determination and the content of indigenous culture. In the same year, the Prime Minister of Canada assembled the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. At the RCAP hearings many First Nations representatives deliberated on the content of aboriginal self-government and indigenous identity. At both of these public forums identity and legal status were negotiated simultaneously, making these public forums sites of cultural production. This paper examines the discourse on indigenous rights and culture at both of these hearings against one another to analyze the different ways in which delegates employed and represented the notion of indigenous culture and/or identity in each context.
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