Europeans as Indigenous Peoples

From Asatru Folk Assembly.
When we hear the phrase “indigenous people,” we think of Amazon tribes, pygmies in Africa, the Australian aborigines, and other groups around the planet. There are probably hundreds – thousands? – of such societies. Their plight is well-known. Indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America come to our attention through television documentaries, articles in National Geographic, and many other sources.

We automatically think of indigenous peoples as looking like the ones we see on television – technologically primitive, living in tribal structures, and tucked away in remote corners of the Earth. And of course they all have dark skin. We unconsciously draw a sharp distinction between them and ourselves. We’d never think of First World peoples as indigenous.

But why not? Neither technology, geography, nor race have anything to do with the definition of “indigenous” – “originating in, and characteristic of, a particular region or country; native”

Consider all us European-descended people, for example. My ancestors came from Germany, Ireland, England, and Scotland quite recently, where they lived since the last ice age. According to geneticist Brian Sykes, 85% to 90% of the European genome can be traced back to the original hunter-gatherers who migrated in as the glaciers receded. If that doesn’t make us indigenous, I don’t know what does. What arguments could there be to the contrary? That we’re technologically advanced? That we have white skin?

To deny indigenous status to the peoples of Europe would be biased at best – and racist at worst. We are indigenous Europeans!

From our European homeland, we’ve migrated around the world – especially to North America, Australia, Canada, and South Africa, with smaller presences in almost every nation on Earth. But no matter where we roam, we are still us: the people of Europe. We have not changed our essence, we have only changed our location.

We must recover our sense of roots, our awareness of ourselves as a people. Sure, we are not all of one tribe. There are the Germans, Slaves and Celts, all of whom are descended from the Funnel Beaker People. Below that are our modern-day nations of origin, and then come our tribal roots, which are largely lost to us. But, notwithstanding this diversity, we remain Europeans. Genetically and culturally, we are sharply defined from the rest of the planet. Similarly, Native Americans may be Lakota or Cherokee or Maidu but still identify as Native Americans.

Once we understand that we are a definable group, with roots in a particular place since time immemorial, our perspective has to change. We have our own unique characteristics, our own cultural heritage, our own way-of-being in the world. Likewise, we have our own set of closely-related native religions. The largest of these would break down into Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic groups, but even then the similarities are much more pronounced than the differences. Indeed, the whole point of H.R Ellis Davidson’s Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe was to demonstrate that the Celtic and Scandinavian religions were branches of a common European belief and practice.

Only when we realize we are a people (indeed, a collection of closely related peoples) can modern Eurofolk know their inner beings. Only then can we heal ourselves, heal the world of which we are a part, and relate honestly with other peoples of the Earth. Doing this, we can discover and attain our destiny.

“Only when we realize we are a river will we stop drowning in puddles.”

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2 replies »

  1. Great statements! Here in the US, I see a lot of people of European decent, or “Anglos” as we are called by Native Americans, trying to hijack native culture and even claim it as their own. It is a result of having no real indigenous culture of our own. It was lost/misplaced so very long ago with the spread of Christianity throughout Europe.
    However, when you realize that if you go back in time far enough all humans made fire in the same ways, made tools out of the same materials, expressed a reverence for nature through painting and sculpture, and we all had that connection with the earth, nature, and the universe. We may not be able to recover our exact ethnic heritages, ceremonies, etc. but we can reestablish our connection with nature and acknowledge that we are a part of nature and then we might actually become a rich, new indigenous culture!

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