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Oregon Review of International Law


As both practice and discipline, international law has been the subject of serious and sustained internal and external critiques since its inception. In fact, the "inception" of international law itself has been the subject of serious and sustained critique for some time now. This debate is of special relevance for Indigenous peoples, most of whom suffer from a double burden in international law, as they are neither Europeans nor dominant political actors within the states whose borders now contain and divide their traditional territories. Apart from the changing role, place, and agency of Indigenous peoples in international law and fora generally, this article raises the issue of Indigenous peoples' prominence (or lack thereof) within critical and alternative approaches to international law, namely deconstructive/historical and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). The focus on critical and alternative approaches to international law speaks to the need for these theories and actors to learn from one another in their attempts to both describe the worlds comprised by international law and to change them. While the title of this article refers to the "South of the North" and the Fourth World generally, my focus in the following largely remains on Indigenous peoples and nations located within (and sometimes across) the borders of the Canadian state.

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