What Does It Mean to Be “Indigenous”?
In the past fifty years, a movement has formed to unite native and aboriginal peoples around the world under one umbrella term: Indigenous. But “indigeneity” is a slippery concept. Some groups qualify because they were the first people in their nation; some qualify even though they weren’t. Some have lost sovereignty over their land; some have regained it. As tribes face a variety of political crises, does this diverse global coalition create solidarity, or does it flatten complex problems? Manvir Singh, a writer and anthropology research fellow, raises these questions in an essay in this week’s New Yorker, “It’s Time to Rethink the Idea of the ‘Indigenous.’ ” He joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the trade-offs of embracing a complex identity label.