Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Nancy Powers

Second Advisor

Gilda Rodríguez


How do organizations that claim to be representative of Indigenous groups convey claims to the state? Why does an Indigenous Representation Organization (IRO) sometimes moderate the claims from the group they claim to represent in the claim-making process? As I argue, an IRO will be most likely to moderate claims of the group it purports to represent: if 1) the level of co-optation by the government is high and 2) there is no access to the international sphere. Furthermore, there seems to be an interaction effect between the two: once an IRO has access to the international sphere, it is likely to shift away from its co-opted position. In this study, I reached these conclusions by tracing the processes of Indigenous rights representation over time in Japan, through the Hokkaidō Ainu Association, and in New Zealand, through the Waitangi Tribunal. Although both IROs are co-opted, the Hokkaidō Ainu Association started to break away from its co-opted position when it began to frequently interact with international organizations and actors, while the Waitangi Tribunal is unable to shift away from its co-opted position and has limited access to the international sphere. I show that in the former case (the Ainu), the IRO is less likely to moderate claims in comparison to the latter’s IRO.

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