Who is indigenous?


In recent years, however, when being indigenous can qualify you for particular aid or presenting concerns through the language of indigeneity has greater impact, the identification of indigenous people has become problematic and contentious. In lowland areas of Bolivia, for example, in certain cases the number of people identifying as belonging to an indigenous group has more than doubled in two years; in others people continue to be unwilling to identify themselves as such because of the profound racism in those areas. In highland areas the people who are most likely to identify themselves as indigenous are educated urban intellectuals or political activists, not the Aymara-speaking rural peasants who follow traditional” lifestyles.

Canessa, Andrew (2007) Who is indigenous? Self-identification, Indigeneity, and Claims to Justice in Contemporary Bolivia.

Quoted here less because of the selected text than because it is a nicely written article — good for thinking about indigeneity — and it is available in an Open Access repository.