It is hard to evaluate the work of Henderson “The context of the state of nature” as it presents fairly one-sided approach to human behavior and international world order. The Hobbes was famous with his claims “man against every man”, but it should be critically assessed whether this notion is relevant to nowadays realms.
The terror was common practice in Europe, I must admit, starting from French Revolution. Power by all means was the motto, and terror served as the main tool to acquire power and to stay in power. The realism prevailed up to the end of cold war, where nations were guided by self-interest and material values. However, we now live in a multipolar world system, where everything has significantly changed. Europe is not the same as it was before: terror is no longer used as means to govern. Europe had chosen completely different direction, and it is rooted in integration and cooperation. Moreover, it is fairly too subjective too state that Europeans have imposed or dictated their rules and laws how to treat indigenous people. All the norms and rules are defined by each country separately, and there are also universal laws presented by the international organizations.
It is overstated that indigenous people are faced with oppression and that they should seek ways to modernize the state in order to prevent new age of colonialism. My response for that is the fact that treatment of indigenous people does not depend on certain theories or historical preconditions, but it is rooted in the cultural aspects of every country and the indigenous people themselves: how they want to be viewed? If they do not want to continue to view themselves as minority, they should be less isolating themselves from others, but seek ways how to effectively integrate into the society.
The work of Peter Russell gave a full picture of how British colonizers have impacted the indigenous people in various countries. They have brought own rules and norms and indeed imposed them on the indigenous society. It is evident, that the imperialistic ambitions of Britain were huge enough and it desired to own as much of the land as possible. Of course, not only Britain was up to it: imperialist fever had spread to lots of the European countries. Rules and norms were important to place the indigenous people under King’s rule. As Britain was at the top of the global power, it could exercise its power as much as it wanted, and in order to solidify its rule and make it legitimate, the rules and norms were made international. As international law justified British actions, no one could oppose it. The main issue at stake was of course the oppression of the indigenous people. They were colonized, mistreated and used as a cheap labor force.
In my personal point of view, any other country which was recognized as the world power would have passed through the same processes: the acquisition of new territory, colonizing its people, and establishing own judicial systems, in order to make it easier to govern. The core issue related to that is how these principles have affected the mind-set of the indigenous people living nowadays. It is the responsibility of each of the governments to ensure the execution of all human rights in order to prevent the disintegration of the society.
Henderson, J. (2000). The context of the state of nature. Reclaiming indigenous voice and vision, 11-38.
Russell, P. H. (2005). Recognizing Aboriginal title: The Mabo case and Indigenous resistance to English-settler colonialism (pp.30-50). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.