Crofters in Scotland want to be recognised as indigenous. What’s next?

The Independent reports that the Scottish Crofting Foundation wants to have Scotland’s 13000 crofters recognised as ‘indigenous people’, the same way as the Maoris, the Aborigines, the Sami, Native Americans and other ethnic groups are recognised by the UN. Now, if I’m not particularly mistaken, crofting is nothing but subsistence farming on small bits of windswept land. I am pretty sure that being a crofter does not automatically make you an indigenous Scotsman or vice versa: if a gentleman from, say, Kazakhstan would get hold of a small plot of land in the Highlands or the Western Isles and try to live of the land, he could call himself a crofter. They don’t even have a common language, as not all of them speak Gaelic. And if I’m ethnologically rightly informed, even the most indigenous Scotsman is a happy genetic mashup of Pict, Norse, Saxon, Roman and Celtic (e.g. Irish) forefathers. Some of them will have more of one ancestry or the other, depending on where they live. Traditional dress of truly indigenous cultures is also usually more sophisticated than wellies and overalls.

If we would take this further, we could argue that the Open-BSD users of Northumberland should be recognised as indigenous as well: they have their own language that nobody else understands, have their own specific tools that hardly anybody uses, and they don’t necessarily have to belong to one ethnic background.

Or what about knitters in Stepney? Bikers in Transsylvania? Book Binders in Oamaru? Tulip growers in Holland?

I rest my case.

1 thought on “Crofters in Scotland want to be recognised as indigenous. What’s next?

  1. I agree that granting indigenous status to crofters might at first sight seem a little silly but, when you look into things in a little more historic and political depth, it starts to seem less than loony with potentially very practical and useful outcomes. This is a link to a book of the fascinating story to save a highland island from corporate greed with all sorts of strange twists and connections that may help put the indigenous proposal in some happy perspective.

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