Indigeneity and autochthony: a couple of false twins?



The term indigenous tends to be used for people who are already marginalised, while autochthonous is generally reserved for people who are dominant in a given area but fear future marginalisation. Anthropologists often sympathise with the former, while being highly critical of the latter, although a bitter debate opposes opponents and proponents of indigeneity and autochthony. We argue that the implicit criteria used in this debate need to be discussed explicitly if one wants to escape from the dead end in which the discussion finds itself today.