Fluid Internationalisms: The Ocean as a Source and Forum of Indigenous International Law

  • Andrew Ambers
  • Rachel yacaaʔał George


To rethink ‘the international’ necessarily enables revisioning where sources of law can be located, how normative paradigms operate in situ, and which processes foster cultural, political, and legal principles. In grounding this international reorientation in the ocean and ocean thinking, this analysis offers a brief point of entry into the worlds of Indigenous internationalisms from a coastal, oceanic reference of analysis. We underline not only how the ocean is an international law forum for Indigenous internationalisms, but also how they are vibrant spaces that foster connections between kin and generate legal principles through the methodology of reading seascapes. Through this process, what follows is a submerging of particular ideologies of ‘the international’ and an emerging account of ‘the international’ that facilitates a dynamic transcendence of thinking and being beyond state-premised borders, international relations, law, and sovereignty. Understanding oceans as Indigenous international law fora, as sources of Indigenous legalities, as physical interpretive legal methodologies, and as the connective structures that foster deep connections within and beyond an Indigenous nation, brings us into a socio-legal geography that suspends restrictive, colonial visions of ‘the international’ for a vibrant oceanic future. Recognizing and affirming these oceanic connections contributes to reinscribing Indigenous sovereignty at the scales of individuals, nations, and international relations.


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How to Cite
Ambers, Andrew, and Rachel yacaaʔał George. 2024. “Fluid Internationalisms: The Ocean As a Source and Forum of Indigenous International Law”. Borders in Globalization Review 5 (1). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 21-25. https://doi.org/10.18357/bigr51202421801.