• Length:
    10 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–4 hours per week
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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

About this course

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Indigenous Peoples, numbering more than 476 million in some 90 countries and about 5000 groups and representing a great part of the world’s human diversity and cultural heritage, continue to raise major controversies and to face threats to their physical and cultural existence.

We will analyze the achievements, challenges, and potential of the dynamic interface between the Indigenous People’s movement—one of the strongest social movements of our time—and the international community, especially the UN system. Centered on the themes laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the course will examine how Indigenous Peoples have been contesting and reshaping norms, institutions and global debates in the past 50 years, re-shaping and gradually decolonizing international institutions and how they have contributed to some of the most important contemporary debates, including human rights, development, law—specifically the concepts of self-determination, governance, group rights, inter-culturality and pluriculturality, and cultural rights.

What you'll learn

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Learners in the course will be able to:

  • discuss how Indigenous Peoples, through their global movement, have been contesting and reshaping international norms and institutions.

  • understand how Indigenous Peoples have been working with the UN system, States and others to advance their rights on the ground.

  • explain the three pillars of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

  • analyze how Indigenous Peoples have impacted and contributed to some of the most important contemporary global debates, including human rights, development, and climate change—specifically through the concepts of self-determination, group rights, land rights, environmental rights, inter-culturality and cultural rights.

  1. The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Movement
  2. Right to Self-Determination
  3. Right to Land, Territories, and Resources
  4. Cultural Rights
  5. UN Indigenous Peoples-Related Mechanisms: The Power of Advocacy

Meet your instructors

Elsa Stamatopoulou
Director, Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program, ISHR
Columbia University
Andrew J. Nathan
Professor, Political Science
Columbia University

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