Regaining pre-colonial sovereignty

the case of Miskitu resistance

Alejandra Gaitán-Barrera, Govand Khalid Azeez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the politics, discursive utterances and postures of an under-studied indigenous autonomist movement whose anti-colonial and anti-Western project demands to be studied per se: the Council of Miskitu Elders of the Communitarian Nation Mosquitia in Nicaragua. As the epitome of what here is denominated revindicative autonomism, this movement presents an articulation of autonomy that not only deviates from but also challenges the current hegemonic model of liberal multiculturalism. Engaging in an anti-colonial struggle, the Council of Elders rearticulates autonomy firstly by bringing to the fore the territorial component of the nomos. Secondly, it does so by pushing for the outright rejection of the Western nation-state and its hierarchical multicultural models of governance. Drawing from an extensive and detailed examination of this movement's textual and rhetorical contrivances as well as field research conducted in the region, this work explores the rarely acknowledged bottom-up politics of autonomism and attempts to diversify the often reductionist theorisation of indigenous autonomist demands in Latin America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-373
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Iberian and Latin American Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • autonomy
  • anti-colonial movements
  • resistance
  • indigenous peoples
  • multiculturalism
  • Latin America

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