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Urban Indigeneities: Being Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century

SPEAKERS: Andrew Canessa, University of Essex & Dana Brablec, CEDLA - UvA

DISCUSSANT: Adriana Churampi, Leiden University DATE: 19 April 2024


Today a majority of Indigenous peoples live in urban areas: they are builders and cleaners, teachers and lawyers, market women and masons, living in towns and cities surrounded by the people and pollution that characterize life for most individuals in the twenty-first century. Despite this basic fact, the vast majority of studies on Indigenous peoples concentrate solely on rural Indigenous populations.


Aiming to highlight these often-overlooked communities, this is the first book to look at urban Indigenous peoples globally and present the urban Indigenous experience—not as the exception but as the norm. The contributing essays draw on a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, architecture, land economy, and area studies, and are written by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars. The analysis looks at Indigenous people across the world, including five chapters based on the Latin American region.


Indigeneity is often seen as being “authentic” when it is practiced in remote rural areas, but these essays show that a vigorous, vibrant, and meaningful indigeneity can be created in urban spaces too. The book challenges many of the imaginaries and tropes of what constitutes “the Indigenous” and offers perspectives and tools to understand a contemporary Indigenous urban reality.


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