Integrate or Indigenate?

For the life of me, I can’t remember where I saw the term or its definition but I thought it was a fascinating alternative to  cast into the assimilation versus integration debates roiling so many nation-states today.

The term is “indigenate” and as I understood it, it means to integrate into a society as we imagine it existed in the past. It’s for migrants who aren’t all that interested in modern France (or Japan, Bolivia, Canada…) but who think it would be very cool to turn back the clock a few hundred years and try to live as the ancestors or “indigenous people” in those societies did.

How this might be accomplished,  I have no idea.  And I wonder what the immigration authorities or the general public would think of a migrant who came and tried. For countries that glorify their pasts, I would think they would be flattered on one level and offended on another.  It does show an appreciation for the history and culture of a place, but it also implies that the modern version of the nation lacks something compared to its past.

Which, mes amis, is kind of what traditionalists tell us all the time:  “Things were better in the past.”  And if some migrants not only agree, but want to come and make it so, would they be more welcome?

J’en doute.


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Born in Seattle, USA. Generation Xer. Lived on 3 continents (North America, Asia and Europe). Country agnostic. Mother of two Frenchlings. MA in International Migration

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