Cyd-Safiad (Standing Together): The Politics of Alliance of Welsh and American Indian
Rights’ Movements, 1960s-Present brings into dialogue two seemingly distinct minority
nationalist movements of the late 20th century, the American Indian Movement (AIM)
and Welsh nationalists. It explores how they formed mutually beneficial transnational
political alliances and networks of cooperation with each other and related groups
worldwide, from Australian Aborigines to Irish Republicans. In doing so, this
interdisciplinary project traces the exchange of ideology and strategy between minority
nationalist groups in a time of increasing globalization and how it helped activists
conceptualize their own struggle as they engaged with discourses of sovereignty,
independence, and human rights. During this period, worldwide concern arose about a
possible decline in nation-states, caused by a global resurgence of minority nationalisms,
alongside the emergence of supranational bodies such as the United Nations and
European Union. Amidst this, many of these nationalist movements engaged in a ‘politics
of alliance,’ communicating and cooperating to raise awareness and visibility of each
other’s causes and provide political, and sometimes financial, support. The dissertation
examines the significance of these transnational political alliances, focusing on AIM and
Welsh nationalists as case studies, particularly AIM’s tour of Wales in 1986 to protest the
US government’s actions in an important land dispute concerning the Hopi-Navajo
reservation at Big Mountain, Arizona. I examine what concepts such as indigenous,
sovereignty, and nationhood meant to each group, how they envisioned them, and how
their conception of these ideas shaped their interactions with each other.
Using interviews with movement activists, as well as extensive archival research, I argue
that these networks of cooperation were significant for providing mutual support and for
tangibly shaping the visions and practical tactics of these minority nationalist campaigns.
This project therefore demonstrates the powerful role these global political support
networks played in advancing the movements and inspiring the groups involved to continue their struggle.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: History. Advisors:Jean M. O’Brien, Brenda Child. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 241 pages.
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