On repressed indigeneity: Naohiro Nakamura, ‘Being Indigenous in a non-Indigenous environment: identity politics of the Dogai Ainu and new Indigenous policies of Japan, Environment and Planning A, 47, 3 , 2015, pp. 660 – 675
Abstract: The author discusses the identities and socioeconomic status of Indigenous people in a non-Indigenous environment, ways to recognize Indigenous belonging statistically, and ethnic policies in a Japanese context, specifically focusing on the Dogai Ainu; that is, the Ainu who left their original homeland of Hokkaido and live elsewhere in Japan. The Japanese Government’s 2010 socioeconomic survey of the Dogai Ainu demonstrated a socioeconomic gap between the Dogai Ainu and the majority of the Japanese. This survey also revealed the difficulty of conducting surveys of the Dogai Ainu because, in a non-Indigenous environment, many of them tend to conceal their ethnicity for fear of discrimination and hesitate to participate in surveys. Indigenous peoples in Anglophone countries are increasingly challenging the definition of Indigeneity as imposed by outsiders, and self-identification is becoming an essential component of recognizing Indigenous belonging to reflect the reality and diversity of Indigenous identities. Some countries such as the USA and Canada have also begun using self-identification for enumeration in statistics. The case study of the Dogai Ainu, however, suggests that Indigenous belonging cannot always be recognized by self-identification and Indigenous policies may have to be implemented without comprehensive data.
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