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Indigenism is a kind of ethnic nationalism emphasizing the group's indigeneity to their homeland. This may be embraced by post-colonial anarchism as well as in neo-völkisch or national mysticist nationalism building on historical or pseudohistorical claims of ethnic continuity. While New World movements usually go by the name indigenism (notably in South America, "indigenism" is a political force), the term autochthonism is encountered for Eastern European and Central Asian nationalisms.[1] The term indigenism as used in the Americas was popularized by Guillermo Bonfil Batalla (1935-1991) in Latin America in the 1970s to 1980s, and in the 1980s to 1990s by Ward Churchill (b. 1947) in the United States (From a Native Son).

The question of who is indigenous may be less than straightforward, depending on the region under consideration. Thus, for the New World, in the Americas as well as in Australia, the question is rather straightforward, while it is less easy to answer in the case of South Africa.[2]

"Autochthonism" is an issue especially in those parts of Europe formerly under Ottoman control, i.e. the Balkans and Romania (see rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire). Originating in the 19th century, autochthonist nationalism affected the area throughout the 20th century. Writing in 1937, Nichifor Crainic celebrated Gândirea's role in making nationalism and Orthodoxy priorities in Romania's intellectual and political life:

The term 'ethnic' with its meaning of 'ethnic specificity' imprinted in all sorts of expressions of the people, as a mark of its original properties, has been spread for 16 years by the journal Gândirea. The same thing applies to the terms of autochthonism, traditionalism, Orthodoxy, spirituality and many more which became the shared values of our current nationalist language.

See also


  1. ^ Leon Volovici, Nationalist Ideology and Antisemitism: The Case of Romanian Intellectuals in the 1930s, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism Pergamon Press, 1991, ISBN 9780080410241, p. 80; Lucian Boia, History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness, Central European University Press, 2001, ISBN 9789639116979, p. 240. Karl Kaser, Elisabeth Katschnig-Fasch, Gender and Nation in South Eastern Europe: Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures, Vol. 14, LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2006, ISBN 9783825888022, p. 89.
  2. ^ Lee (2006), p. 459: "As Murumbi (1994) has pointed out, the black peoples of Africa, whether hunter-gatherers, herders, farmers, or city dwellers, can all claim great antiquity on the continent. Thus any distinctions between indigenous and non-indigenous must necessarily be invidious ones. A case in point: the Government of Botswana, home of over half of all the San peoples of Africa, refused to participate in the 1993–2003 UN Decade of the Indigenous People, on the grounds that in their country everyonewas indigenous (Mogwe, 1992). "
  3. ^ Crainic, in Caraiani, note 23
  • Churchill, Ward (1996). From a Native Son. Boston: South End Press. ISBN 0896085538.  
  • Ronald Niezen, The Origins of Indigenism - Human Rights and the Politics of Identity, University of California Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-520-23554-0.
  • Richard Borshay Lee, "Twenty-first century indigenism", Anthropological Theory, Vol. 6, No. 4, 455-479 (2006)

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