In Myanmar, the idea of 'indigeneity' has been mobilised in two radically different ways. Ethnonationalist groups such as the Chin National Front and the Karen National Union have utilised the concept to lobby for increased autonomy in international forums such as the United Nations, while the Burmese state has used the idea of indigeneity (or native-ness, typically translated as taingyinthar in Burmese) to exclude certain minorities - most prominently the Rohingya - by explicitly striking them from the official list of Myanmar's 'national races'. To clarify how this definitional tension has developed, this article will situate the competing Burmese appeals to indigeneity within the history of international indigeneity politics, and compare the Burmese 'Indigenous situation' to other Asian countries that have addressed the question of who counts and does not count as Indigenous.
|Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
|Published - 2019