Second Guest blog written by Elisabeth Scharling
The goal in the second blog is to reflect upon the word indigenous or indigenism – and the value of the word in today’s politics.
An interesting example is Bolivia. Evo Morales came to power despite of his indigenous roots, promoting a new direction for the country’s development plan, which gave hope for indigenous groups and their cultural maintenance. Although the politics under Evo Morales’ government has been strongly criticized for not complying with the Constitution; some believe that being indigenous in Bolivia has become a source of pride. Social identities have slowly changed their value, a great accomplishment for the Bolivian society.
But while talking about being indigenous, a question arises: what is it to be indigenous?
⁃ Who are the indigenous people?
Debates about indigenism can often be very confusing, as those using the word may have trouble defining the group of people, which they are referring to. How should this group be defined? by their language, a race, or are they defined through their relation to the state? Some argue that being Indigenous variates after the geographical place and the current circumstances.
In the case of Bolivia, things have become more difficult. Evo Morales has been promoting indigenous values, but as the population is increasingly unsatisfied with their president, they start wondering, ”how indigenous he really is.”
Using indigenism as a political tool, borders and identities have been created, which are not as static as first intended. Being indigenous can in some cases be useful, and be the way to gather groups of people for a greater course, to increase the impact on national or international matters.
What is indigenism to you? Is it a strategy or something far more complicated and ancient?