Organized Panel Session
While we often associate the concept of indigeneity with Anglo settler colonies (such as Canada and the US), it has come to be used in environmental activism in Asian countries like Indonesia (Li 2000), and has even become part of state discourse in locales like Japan (Lewallen 2016). This panel seeks to both historically and ethnographically trace the genealogies, transformations, and circulations of indigeneity as an idea and lived experience in East Asia and Southeast Asia. This panel challenges the common assumption that the concept of indigeneity originated in North America and then traveled to Asia in the 1990s. Harrison traces different genealogies of indigeneity by discussing intra-Asian solidarity building between Chinese ethnic groups and the Ainu in Japan in the 1970s, decades before the 1990s. Roellinghoff examines how the Ainu mobilized against state agrarian policies invoking indigeneity in the late 19th century. This panel also challenges the view that indigeneity does not fit with realities on the ground in Asia (e.g. Shah 2010). Instead, we seek to understand how various actors have productively engaged this concept to interpret and overcome their predicaments. Hong shows how indigenous activism competes with other articulations of nativeness in Myanmar. Sugimoto discusses how indigenous subjects claim their own sovereignty in Taiwan against the ROC regime's claim to national sovereignty. Michael Hathaway, an expert on the politics of indigeneity in China, will discuss our panel. Our historically and ethnographically grounded accounts from Asia can make important contributions to our understanding of global indigeneity (Niezen 2003).