Differences in African Indigenous Rights Messaging in International Advocacy Coalitions

Maia Hallward, Kennesaw State University
Jonathan Taylor Downs, Kennesaw State University


International Indigenous rights coalitions increasingly involve Indigenous and non-Indigenous civil society organizations (CSOs) with diverse backgrounds and interests. As these organizations more frequently interact and partner with one another, what issues are being emphasized in their advocacy efforts? This study utilizes content analysis of 60 Indigenous rights organizations’ websites, as well as interviews of several leaders and staff, to explore whether African Indigenous organizations emphasize different aspects of Indigenous rights in their messaging and advocacy than their other Indigenous and non-Indigenous coalition partners, We find that African Indigenous CSOs discuss issues of unequal treatment more frequently, and issues of self-determination and assimilation less frequently, than their coalition partners. The messaging of Indigenous organizations outside of Africa contained similar themes as that of non-Indigenous CSOs. This raises questions regarding why these messages differ: do African Indigenous groups have distinct concerns and/or are there other reasons for the variance in messaging across international Indigenous rights coalitions.