Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Victor Asal, Ph.D.


How does political engagement help indigenous communities in fighting for their rights? Indigenous communities have faced immense levels of oppression and discrimination throughout history. A growing global trend shows that more communities are fighting back and gaining their rights through political means. This paper looks at the multiple ways communities have mobilized, focusing specifically on non-violent, political methods of resistance. This is done by examining politically active indigenous populations from North, Central, and South America and the states that they reside in. Even though the Inuit, Mayan, and Quechua communities have faced similar discrimination, have the same goals, and reside in democratic countries; they have chosen different methods of political engagement. Through conducting a Most Similar Systems study, we hypothesize that the percent of population that an indigenous group makes up in a state is a determining factor in what political methods that group utilizes. By understanding the reasons behind this, it will become easier to study how political engagement helps indigenous communities in gaining a voice. Some methods could be more effective for different communities based on their population make up. Nevertheless, this study can provide insight into the functioning of indigenous political resistance systems and assist in putting together the larger picture of effective activism for these communities.