image of the book cover of Doing Democracy Differently

Doing Democracy Differently: Indigenous Rights and Representation in Canada and Latin America

Roberta Rice

$62.99 HC / $34.99 PB (T)

176 pages, 11 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

Hardback: 978-1-77385-563-9

Paperback: 978-1-77385-564-6

Epub: 978-1-77385-567-7

Library PDF: 978-1-77385-566-0

September 2024

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A comparative study of innovative approaches to Indigenous self-government.

Across North and South America, Indigenous people play a dual political role, building self-governing structures in their own nations and participating in the elections of settler states. Doing Democracy Differently asks how states are responding to demands for Indigenous representation and autonomy and in what ways the ongoing project of decolonization may unsettle the practice of democracy.

Based on the structured, focused comparison of four success stories across Northern Canada, Bolivia, and Ecuador, this book provides real-world examples of how Indigenous autonomy and self-determination may be successfully advanced using existing democratic mechanisms. Drawing on thorough original research to identify factors that create distinctive patterns within Indigenous-state relations, it argues that the capacity for democratic innovation lies within the realm of civil society while the possibility for uptake of such innovation is found within the state and its willingness to work with Indigenous and popular actors.

Operating at the intersection of Indigenous and Comparative Politics, Doing Democracy Differently takes seriously the role of institutions and the land on which they are built in the creation of democratic transformations in the Americas. This book advances Indigenous rights to autonomy and self-government and speaks to some of the thorniest issues in democratic governance.

About the Author

Roberta Rice is associate professor of Indigenous Politics and department head, Political Science, University of Calgary. She is author of The New Politics of Protest: Indigenous Mobilization in America’s Neoliberal Era and co-editor of Protest and Democracy.

Tables and Figures

Introduction: Re-envisioning Democracy at the Intersection of Comparative and Indigenous Political Inquiry
Chapter 1. Decolonizing Democracy: Theoretical and Conceptual Considerations
Chapter 2. Yukon: Leading the World in Nation-to-Nation Indigenous Self-Government
Chapter 3. Bolivia: Advancing Indigenous Governance as a Distinct Order of Government
Chapter 4. Nunavut: Enacting Public Government as Indigenous Self-Government
Chapter 5. Ecuador: Promoting Plurinationality through Local Indigenous Governments
Conclusion: Instituting Indigenous and Democratic Governance


Innovative in both methodology and focus, this book offers a groundbreaking cross-regional analysis of Indigenous-state relations in Canada and Latin America. Thoroughly researched and highly accessible, it enhances our understanding of democratic decolonization by showcasing diverse pathways to deepening democracy through Indigenous autonomy.

—Pascal Lupien, Department of Political Science, Brock University

Roberta Rice has written a much-needed cross-regional comparison of Indigenous-state relations in Latin America and Canada. Doing Democracy Differently provides an exemplary comparative framework for rethinking the practice of democracy and the meanings of decolonization. Political scientists seeking to diversity their course syllabi with excellent comparative research on settler colonialism need look no farther.

—Maxwell A. Cameron, Department of Political Science & School of Pulbic Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia