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Till the Soil and Fill the Soul: Indigenous Resurgence and Everyday Practices of Farming in Okinawa.

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Title:Till the Soil and Fill the Soul: Indigenous Resurgence and Everyday Practices of Farming in Okinawa.
Authors:Chibana, Megumi
Contributors:Political Science (department)
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Date Issued:Aug 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation, “Till the Soil and Fill the Soul: Indigenous Resurgence and Everyday
Practices of Farming in Okinawa,” examines Okinawan Indigeneity through analyses of
Uchinaanchu’s various actions and reconceptualizations of land. I examine everyday acts of
Okinawans making Indigenous space and making the land a more livable place, despite having
long been dominated and militarily occupied. More specifically, this dissertation pays attention
to and explores the correlation between land-based practices of farming and (a)political activism
in the community.
I argue that the everyday act of farming, while perhaps seemingly apolitical and personal,
has been and becomes a form of sociopolitical action that not only acts to resist settler-colonial
space but also to sustain firmly and to call forth resurgent Okinawan Indigeneity from the
ground. In chapters that focus specifically on land use, Indigenous languages, tacit farming,
commercial farming, and landscape restoration, I argue that these constitute specific instances
and an overall movement of Indigenous resurgence in Okinawa.
The methodology comprises ethnographic research in Okinawa, including participant
observations, and formal and semi-formal interviews, and data collection from archival
materials. Recognizing the everyday agency of Okinawan villagers in sculpting their own selfdetermination,
I highlight stories of people engaged in active Indigenous resurgence, whom I
have termed “resurgents.” These resurgents do not necessarily identify themselves as Indigenous
rights activists to resist setter-colonial and settler-military structures; however, stories shared by
these resurgents show they are doing more than resisting settler domination. They are
(re)emerging from rooted Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. Overall, this dissertation
demonstrates how narratives and practices of Indigenous resurgents in Okinawa create and
envision more sustainable and inclusive space from various directions while remaining firmly
rooted in ancestral land. My transdisciplinary and trans-Indigenous approach to land politics in
Okinawa contribute to more fully understanding the concept of Indigeneity and its usage.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science

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