IWGIA was one of the very first organisations to be established in support of indigenous peoples. It was founded in 1968 by anthropologists concerned at the atrocities being committed against Indians in South America.
Within a few years, a small group of dedicated scholars working on a voluntary basis had managed to establish a documentation centre that became well-known to concerned people the world over. Out of these beginnings grew a professional organisation which, while still being involved in documentation, now also undertakes international human rights activities, empowerment projects, publishing and information dissemination.
For the past 40 years, IWGIA has taken an analytical as well as action-orientated approach to working with indigenous issues â€“ always in close partnership with indigenous organisations. This partnership has involved all of IWGIAâ€™s activities, favouring mutual understanding and increasingly enabling a more pro-active approach from IWGIAâ€™s side.
One effect of this has been an increased emphasis on indigenous peoplesâ€™ own participation in the decision-making processes at national, regional and international level, along with the development of dialogue with governments.
This book is written by Jens Dahl, a Danish anthropologist and former director and Board member of IWGIA who has followed the organisationâ€™s development for the last 40 years. It is thus an insiderâ€™s view of the history of an organisation, as seen through the mirror of his own eyes.