Reposted from IU Newsroom
A Global Indigenous Studies Workshop on Nov. 4 and 5 at Indiana University Bloomington will kick off a new campus network that brings scholars, activists and policymakers together to address questions of indigeneity.
Morten Oxenboell, director of the East Asian Studies Center in the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, said he got the idea for the network after a fall 2021 speaker series, “Indigenous East Asia,” attracted lots of interest. It was a topic he felt was crucial for the center and the school to address, and faculty from other departments and resource centers agreed.
“When I teach introduction to East Asian history, textbooks that can be 500 pages long maybe twice mention Indigenous populations,” he said. “And so many of our students graduate without ever having heard about the Ainu population in northern Japan, the Okinawan people in southern Japan or the Truku people of Taiwan.”
Oxenboell said there was a strong interest across disciplines to further explore global issues of indigeneity, which led him to establish a network of researchers, curators and archivists at IU Bloomington whose work relates to Indigenous peoples. The hope is for the network to eventually extend beyond campus, connecting researchers who are studying Indigenous people with Indigenous scholars and activists.
“There are about 476.6 million Indigenous people around the world,” said Serafín M. Coronel-Molina, an Indigenous scholar and professor of literacy, culture and language education in the IU School of Education’s Department of Curriculum Instruction. “Many Indigenous languages, including my native language of Huanca Quechua, are close to extinction. If we don’t do something big, they will be in danger of disappearing.”
Coronel-Molina said the multidisciplinary approach to studying indigeneity and connecting researchers with outside groups and Indigenous scholars makes the IU Bloomington initiative unique.
“I am thankful IU is dedicated to advancing work on Indigenous languages and cultures across the globe,” he said. “This is going to have a worldwide impact.”
The Global Indigenous Studies Workshop is free and open to all. It will include discussions on topics such as language preservation, foodways and displacement.
Oxenboell said the network plans to host a conference in 2024 that will bring together scholars, policymakers and NGOs from across the globe.