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The Special Claims of Indigenous Minorities to Corrective Justice

Føllesdal, Andreas
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Lukas H. Meyer, ed., Justice in Time: Responding to Historical Injustice. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. Pp. 339-353.

Andreas Føllesdal opens this chapter with a question, “Are indigenous minorities different from other national minority groups?” That is, some people maintain that indigenous groups have more compelling claims to material resources and political autonomy than other, later groups — even other, later minorities (often termed “national minorities”). Føllesdal supports this position, pointing to the historic control over territory of the ancestors of indigenous groups, territory that had been forcibly taken from those ancestors. Føllesdal does not deny that national minorities may have legitimate claims for justice. However, their claims are different. Indigenous minorities have more compelling and extensive claims due to the fact that their ancestors exercised historic control over particular territory or territories that were taken from them by force to the detriment of the people and their culture. Føllesdal argues all of this on the basis of a liberal contractualist view that an indigenous minority’s history of prior occupation and culture should give at least some legitimacy to present claims for resources and forms of political autonomy.


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