Rethinking Indigenous Identity: Changing Measurements of Ethnicity and the Influence on Indigenous Poverty

David Ader, Pennsylvania State University

In the past few decades the international community has become more interested in the plight of the world’s indigenous peoples because past research shows disproportionately high levels of poverty of indigenous communities, especially in Latin America where indigenous peoples are more likely to be poor because of limited access to education and employment. Chile has been growing economically in the past few decades and the government claims poverty has been decreasing over time for everyone including indigenous people. However, political movements in Chile are trying to discount the existence of indigenous people by changing the way in which data about ethnicity are collected. This research examines various measures of ethnicity within the context of indigenous poverty, and shows that when ethnicity is redefined our understanding of indigenous poverty changes, which can influence policy and social programs, leading to changes in indigenous well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 9