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Johnny Bananas

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The only country in the world that has a 21st century population less than it was in the mid-19th century. Why? The obvious answer is the famine (deliberately worsened by the British) and the resultant mass emigration, but I recently learned there was another factor too: Ireland didn't properly industrialise until after independence. Most nations had a large demographic shift in the 19th century where the rural poor went to work in urban factories, but the British prevented Ireland from developing that industrial base, and there weren't any large coal deposits locally. The Irish rural poor did end up moving to cities en masse, just ones that were outside Ireland.

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Britain has a lot to answer for.
 

Bradesmaen

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The only country in the world that has a 21st century population less than it was in the mid-19th century. Why? The obvious answer is the famine (deliberately worsened by the British) and the resultant mass emigration, but I recently learned there was another factor too: Ireland didn't properly industrialise until after independence. Most nations had a large demographic shift in the 19th century where the rural poor went to work in urban factories, but the British prevented Ireland from developing that industrial base, and there weren't any large coal deposits locally. The Irish rural poor did end up moving to cities en masse, just ones that were outside Ireland.

View attachment 990040

Britain has a lot to answer for.
Pretty much. Hence why the British aren't hugely popular here.
 

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medusala

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The only country in the world that has a 21st century population less than it was in the mid-19th century. Why? The obvious answer is the famine (deliberately worsened by the British)

Britain has a lot to answer for.
Ignorant tosh. The Irish death rate was on a par with Europe and the Brits sent a substantial amount of both govt and private aid (including a campaign by the Times and donation from Queen Victoria).

As for why the population decline the biggest reason was poverty. Ireland was a very poor country long after the Brits gave them independence.
 

Bradesmaen

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Ignorant tosh. The Irish death rate was on a par with Europe and the Brits sent a substantial amount of both govt and private aid (including a campaign by the Times and donation from Queen Victoria).

As for why the population decline the biggest reason was poverty. Ireland was a very poor country long after the Brits gave them independence.
Medusala: Making up history since 1921. Happy 100th birthday old man.
 

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The only country in the world that has a 21st century population less than it was in the mid-19th century. Why? The obvious answer is the famine (deliberately worsened by the British) and the resultant mass emigration, but I recently learned there was another factor too: Ireland didn't properly industrialise until after independence. Most nations had a large demographic shift in the 19th century where the rural poor went to work in urban factories, but the British prevented Ireland from developing that industrial base, and there weren't any large coal deposits locally. The Irish rural poor did end up moving to cities en masse, just ones that were outside Ireland.

View attachment 990040

Britain has a lot to answer for.
You can't blame it all on the British or the famine.

The chart shows a tripling of the Irish population between 1740 and 1840. Was that due to the introduction of the potato as the main foodstock? If so, it left them very vulnerable to any problems such as the blight.

The famine ended around 1850 but the population continued to decline for another hundred years, mainly due to migration. For example, Ireland had a cotton industry but the American Civil War (1861-1865) stopped all cotton exports to Europe. Many of the Irish made out of work moved to England as there were better employment prospects and greater charitable welfare programs.
 

Royce Hafey

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Ignorant tosh. The Irish death rate was on a par with Europe and the Brits sent a substantial amount of both govt and private aid (including a campaign by the Times and donation from Queen Victoria).

As for why the population decline the biggest reason was poverty. Ireland was a very poor country long after the Brits gave them independence.
It's not "ignorant tosh". The death toll was "on a par with Europe". Where did you get that little gem? One in 8 Irish died in four years. Where else in Europe was there a death toll like that? In the Scottish Hebrides there were populations that were equally dependent on the potato and the blight hit them too. Luckily for them, the Lowland Scots were not so in love with laissez-faire and provided them with substantial relief - none died. With regards to Ireland, there was some relief arranged both early in the famine and towards the end, but it was always limited and there were all sorts of administrative restrictions and some incompetence. So, for instance, the Tory Peel administration imported maize from the US early on in the famine, but it was useless because there were no mills in Ireland capable of grinding it. The Whig administration and, in particular, Charles Trevelyan, who they put in charge of the relief program, deliberately limited relief because he believed in laissez-faire economics. He also declined an offer of food assistance from the Ottoman Sultan for the same reason. So, yes there was some relief, but it was inadequate (as the death toll itself clearly indicates) and it was inadequate due to deliberate policy choice. There's also the case, undisputed by any historian, that Ireland exported food in vast numbers to England and that the exports increased during the famine. Ireland has always exported food to Britain. There was no shortage of food, but it wasn't available to the impoverished peasantry in the West of the island. Oh, and there was also the "Gregory" clause of the Poor Law which prohibited anyone holding 1/4 of an acre of land from receiving relief, which meant that a farmer would have to give their land back to the landlord and abandon their home to receive food.
 

medusala

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It's not "ignorant tosh". The death toll was "on a par with Europe". Where did you get that little gem? One in 8 Irish died in four years. Where else in Europe was there a death toll like that? In the Scottish Hebrides there were populations that were equally dependent on the potato and the blight hit them too. Luckily for them, the Lowland Scots were not so in love with laissez-faire and provided them with substantial relief - none died.



The number of excess deaths due to the Continental Famine cannot yet be determined with any precision, but clearly it approaches that of the Irish Famine. (and this is despite differences in crops etc)

The harvest failures of 1845 and 1846 and the resulting famines came on top of rural pauperisation and urban discontent, and thus contributed to the revolutions of 1848 on the European Continent

With regards to Ireland, there was some relief arranged both early in the famine and towards the end, but it was always limited and there were all sorts of administrative restrictions and some incompetence.
It was generous from both private and public funds. Over £10bn in todays money.

Just like when Ireland almost went under in after the GFC. The UK was extremely generous. Any gratitude? Zero.


All in all, the British government spent about £8 million on relief, and some private relief funds were raised as well.

 

Royce Hafey

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The number of excess deaths due to the Continental Famine cannot yet be determined with any precision, but clearly it approaches that of the Irish Famine. (and this is despite differences in crops etc)

The harvest failures of 1845 and 1846 and the resulting famines came on top of rural pauperisation and urban discontent, and thus contributed to the revolutions of 1848 on the European Continent



It was generous from both private and public funds. Over £10bn in todays money.

Just like when Ireland almost went under in after the GFC. The UK was extremely generous. Any gratitude? Zero.


All in all, the British government spent about £8 million on relief, and some private relief funds were raised as well.

You need to read the sources you cite. The Britannica article makes some of the points I did about Peel and his Whig successors, even describing the aid as "inadequate". It is, of course, the source par excellence of the British establishment and misses some of the details (no mention of Trevelyan, the Gregory clause, or one little detail I left out - how the Church of England relief was handed over at services where the peasantry would be fed only if they converted). The article you mention about the European famine (and I was aware that there were famines in Europe prior to the 1848 revolutions) states that there is no way of knowing the excess death rates in Europe, then asserts, without evidence, in fact after actually pointing out itself the absence of such evidence, that the famines in Europe "probably approximated" Irish levels.

Another point needs to be made regarding your continuous implication that it was the Irish themselves who were to blame for their dependence on potatoes (and for the profligate breeding in the 18th Century). The reason why the Irish relied on the potato was because they had been driven from their land and many crowded into the relatively barren and boggy west. There, on tiny plots of land often fertilised by seaweed, the only crop that could sustain them was the potato. They didn't rely on the potato on a whim; they had no choice. It was a consequence of a deliberate policy in the 17th and 18th centuries to take the land of the Catholic Irish and hand it over to the Anglo-Irish ascendency.

A survey of 1,000 peasant homes in Donegal later in the 19th Century found a total of two items of furniture. The level of immiseration was almost unimaginable. And it wasn't just during the famine. The levels of poverty in the Dublin slums in the Edwardian era was worse than that in Calcutta (and we could have an entirely new little discussion about how your wonderfully benevolent British Empire dealt with the Indian sub-continent!). And yes, the Irish continued to be poor and emigrate right up till the 1980s. It didn't help that the Free State was created in 1922 with the deliberate exclusion of the one part of Ireland which had been industrialised. James Connolly had warned that if Ireland was to be partitioned the consequence would be "a carnival of reaction, north and south", and he was right. The north was a nightmare of sectarian violence and oppression with a divided working class unable to properly fight for its rights and the south was a poverty-stricken state dominated by the Catholic Church.

But of course, that was all the fault of the Irish themselves. The British did nothing wrong at any stage. I should be thankful that they transported my ancestor, Patrick Fitzpatrick to Van Diemen's Land in 1848 (for stealing potatoes) because it probably saved his life and allowed his grand-daughter, my great grandmother, to marry a man who was himself a descendant of Mannarlargenna. So you see, being of Irish and Tasmanian Aboriginal descent, I am a little bit biased when it comes to the British Empire. I have so much my family has to be "grateful" for.
 

andrewmillman

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I'm of partial Irish descent so maybe biased, but I have to admit there seems to be no country in Europe that feels more sorry for itself and blames others for their issues.
 

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sorted

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But of course, that was all the fault of the Irish themselves. The British did nothing wrong at any stage. I should be thankful that they transported my ancestor, Patrick Fitzpatrick to Van Diemen's Land in 1848 (for stealing potatoes) because it probably saved his life and allowed his grand-daughter, my great grandmother, to marry a man who was himself a descendant of Mannarlargenna. So you see, being of Irish and Tasmanian Aboriginal descent, I am a little bit biased when it comes to the British Empire. I have so much my family has to be "grateful" for.
If your great great great grandfather was Irish that would make you 1/32 Irish.

It's said that Mannarlargenna's daughters were taken by sealers to the Furneaux Islands. If your great grandmother married one of the children of those relationships it would make you 1/16 Tasmanian Aboriginal.

On face value 29 out of your 32 great great great grandparents might be British. I'm sure you could correct me. But my point is that many Australians with some Irish and Aboriginal descent also have British ancestors.

Are you selectively picking which of your ancestors you identify with to make a historical political point?
 
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andrewmillman

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If your great great great grandfather was Irish that would make you 1/32 Irish.

It's said that Mannarlargenna's daughters were taken by sealers to the Furneaux Islands. If your great grandmother married one of the children of those relationships it would make you 1/16 Tasmanian Aboriginal.

On face value 29 out of your 32 great great great grandfathers might be British. I'm sure you could correct me. But my point is that many Australians with some Irish and Aboriginal descent also have British ancestors.

Are you selectively picking which of your ancestors you identify with to make a historical political point?
Almost certainly. Some people have some bizzare desire to underplay their British (and in particular - English) ancestry.
Perhaps to feel more unique? Or to absolve themselves (in their minds) of guilt regarding British settlement? Quite sad in a way.
 

Royce Hafey

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If your great great great grandfather was Irish that would make you 1/32 Irish.

It's said that Mannarlargenna's daughters were taken by sealers to the Furneaux Islands. If your great grandmother married one of the children of those relationships it would make you 1/16 Tasmanian Aboriginal.

On face value 29 out of your 32 great great great grandparents might be British. I'm sure you could correct me. But my point is that many Australians with some Irish and Aboriginal descent also have British ancestors.

Are you selectively picking which of your ancestors you identify with to make a historical political point?
My ancestry was not central to my argument - I only brought it up to underline the more general argument about the British Empire not being benign, rather than the specific points about the famine. As to the point about the "percentage" of my ancestry, you are correct. I have a ridiculous load of ethnicities in my ancestry that I am aware of (including some English and even one line of Ulster Protestants). Also my great-grandmother married the grandson of "one of those relationships", so my "percentage" of Aboriginality is more like 1/32. (Though it's worth pointing out that I have other Irish lines of ancestry).

So why does my family (not just me) take our Irish and Aboriginal identities more seriously than our English, Scottish, French, German ancestry? All our ancestors (other than the Aboriginal ones) arrived in the 19th Century and for most of them no traces of languages or other cultural inheritance has survived. Their ethnic identity long ago merged into the beige homogeneity of Australian suburbia. The main exception was through my maternal grandfather who, upon being orphaned in Tasmania in 1920, at the age of 15, was looked after by his aunts and maternal grandmother (the latter being the daughter of the famine-era convict). His father's protestant family, which included a Cabinet Minister in the Tasmanian State (Nationalist) government, did nothing to help him or his siblings. My grandfather went on to obtain a university degree and moved to teach in NSW. Teaching in country towns where the class divisions were expressed partly by religion (this was in the '30's and '40s) Grandfather identified as Irish/Catholic and as a Labor man. Though he stopped going to mass after an argument with a DLP-supporting priest in the 1950s. My mother, who was the dominant influence on me an my siblings, adored her father, and I can remember her singing Irish songs and so on as I grew up. She also exhibited a number of the other cultural stigmata of the Irish diaspora, like an over-enthusiasm for JFK, cheering on Bernadette Devlin etc - though thanks to Grandfather's argument with the priest I was spared Catholicism, apart from always eating fish on a Friday.

The reason why the Irish identity remained significant was because it continued, right up until the 1950s at least, to be associated with a sectraian/political division within Australian society. Irish Australians were discriminated against and this made them cling to their cultural identity in ways that other Australians didn't. All of this applies far more to Aboriginality.

Three generations of my family "passed as white", including the same Grandfather I've been talking about above. My mother grew up in Taree where he was teaching in the 1930s and 1940s. Purfleet mission is next to Taree and Mum can remember segregation being enforced there. She can even remember (not knowing her Aboriginal identity) sitting down on a whim in the "Black" section of the cinema and being dragged off to the cop station. Her father turned up and had an argument with the cop which he, being the respectable maths teacher from the High School, he won. So, when in 1961, my Grandfather revealed to my Mum that she had Aboriginal ancestry, it came like a bullet. Twenty years later she found herself working in the Aboriginal Health Section of the Health Commission in Melbourne and her Koori workmates encouraged her to investigate. She went to Tasmania, hit the archives, and found a baptismal record from 1843 that proved it.

So should I just treat this as a curiosity of ancestry? I have relatives who do. But, let me put it this way at the risk of revealing my identity which I don't like doing on Bigfooty, quoting something I wrote somewhere else about this question.

"So am I Aboriginal? Yes, I am. I am Aboriginal. I am Irish and Scottish and all the rest. I am, of course, Australian, and I have a passport to prove it. But the most important part of my ethnic identity is the fact that I am also a Tasmanian Aboriginal. No-one has tried to wipe out the Swedes or the French or the Germans. No other part of my ancestral heritage bears such a burden, or has such significance. Only my Irish ancestry has a similar resonance, since ‘no Irish or blacks’ was the notorious admonition exhibited by landlords in London as late as the 1960s. I don’t sound Irish and I don’t have black skin, but wouldn’t I love to have had an opportunity to have subverted that discrimination in some way! At the very least I would like to say (and this is surely the point of it all): fu** you, Robinson and Neville – you didn’t kill us all!"
 

Johnny Bananas

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I'm of partial Irish descent so maybe biased, but I have to admit there seems to be no country in Europe that feels more sorry for itself and blames others for their issues.
Yes there is: Britain. Feeling sorry for itself and blaming others for their issues was basically most of the argument for leave. The rest being "piss off frogs, we're superior".
 

Johnny Bananas

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On face value 29 out of your 32 great great great grandparents might be British. I'm sure you could correct me. But my point is that many Australians with some Irish and Aboriginal descent also have British ancestors.

Are you selectively picking which of your ancestors you identify with to make a historical political point?
Gee whiz, you seem to be very keen to assume other people's ethnic background.
 

andrewmillman

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Yes there is: Britain. Feeling sorry for itself and blaming others for their issues was basically most of the argument for leave. The rest being "piss off frogs, we're superior".
In a broader historical sense i mean- very few if any countries have punched above their weight and achieved more than Britain. Where as Ireland has bumbled between economic disaster and intra island conflict, its largest achievement arguably being its waves of mass emigration as people have sought to flee it.

A large part of modern Irish identity seems to revolve around disliking Britain- cant be healthy for the national psyche.
 

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My ancestry was not central to my argument - I only brought it up to underline the more general argument about the British Empire not being benign, rather than the specific points about the famine. As to the point about the "percentage" of my ancestry, you are correct. I have a ridiculous load of ethnicities in my ancestry that I am aware of (including some English and even one line of Ulster Protestants). Also my great-grandmother married the grandson of "one of those relationships", so my "percentage" of Aboriginality is more like 1/32. (Though it's worth pointing out that I have other Irish lines of ancestry).

So why does my family (not just me) take our Irish and Aboriginal identities more seriously than our English, Scottish, French, German ancestry? All our ancestors (other than the Aboriginal ones) arrived in the 19th Century and for most of them no traces of languages or other cultural inheritance has survived. Their ethnic identity long ago merged into the beige homogeneity of Australian suburbia. The main exception was through my maternal grandfather who, upon being orphaned in Tasmania in 1920, at the age of 15, was looked after by his aunts and maternal grandmother (the latter being the daughter of the famine-era convict). His father's protestant family, which included a Cabinet Minister in the Tasmanian State (Nationalist) government, did nothing to help him or his siblings. My grandfather went on to obtain a university degree and moved to teach in NSW. Teaching in country towns where the class divisions were expressed partly by religion (this was in the '30's and '40s) Grandfather identified as Irish/Catholic and as a Labor man. Though he stopped going to mass after an argument with a DLP-supporting priest in the 1950s. My mother, who was the dominant influence on me an my siblings, adored her father, and I can remember her singing Irish songs and so on as I grew up. She also exhibited a number of the other cultural stigmata of the Irish diaspora, like an over-enthusiasm for JFK, cheering on Bernadette Devlin etc - though thanks to Grandfather's argument with the priest I was spared Catholicism, apart from always eating fish on a Friday.

The reason why the Irish identity remained significant was because it continued, right up until the 1950s at least, to be associated with a sectraian/political division within Australian society. Irish Australians were discriminated against and this made them cling to their cultural identity in ways that other Australians didn't. All of this applies far more to Aboriginality.

Three generations of my family "passed as white", including the same Grandfather I've been talking about above. My mother grew up in Taree where he was teaching in the 1930s and 1940s. Purfleet mission is next to Taree and Mum can remember segregation being enforced there. She can even remember (not knowing her Aboriginal identity) sitting down on a whim in the "Black" section of the cinema and being dragged off to the cop station. Her father turned up and had an argument with the cop which he, being the respectable maths teacher from the High School, he won. So, when in 1961, my Grandfather revealed to my Mum that she had Aboriginal ancestry, it came like a bullet. Twenty years later she found herself working in the Aboriginal Health Section of the Health Commission in Melbourne and her Koori workmates encouraged her to investigate. She went to Tasmania, hit the archives, and found a baptismal record from 1843 that proved it.

So should I just treat this as a curiosity of ancestry? I have relatives who do. But, let me put it this way at the risk of revealing my identity which I don't like doing on Bigfooty, quoting something I wrote somewhere else about this question.

"So am I Aboriginal? Yes, I am. I am Aboriginal. I am Irish and Scottish and all the rest. I am, of course, Australian, and I have a passport to prove it. But the most important part of my ethnic identity is the fact that I am also a Tasmanian Aboriginal. No-one has tried to wipe out the Swedes or the French or the Germans. No other part of my ancestral heritage bears such a burden, or has such significance. Only my Irish ancestry has a similar resonance, since ‘no Irish or blacks’ was the notorious admonition exhibited by landlords in London as late as the 1960s. I don’t sound Irish and I don’t have black skin, but wouldn’t I love to have had an opportunity to have subverted that discrimination in some way! At the very least I would like to say (and this is surely the point of it all): fu** you, Robinson and Neville – you didn’t kill us all!"
Are you Jacqui Lambie? Just kidding :p

Your family history is interesting. But have you considered that some of your ancestors are from nationalities that repressed the two ethnic groups that you most identify with? I'm not saying any of your ancestors share the blame for any atrocities. But it is probably also invalid to assume you and your ancestors have been victims of particular oppression because of their ethnicity.

At 1/32 Irish you are nowhere near Irish enough to qualify for an Irish/EU passport. I have no problem with you identifying with that part of your ancestry; there's a certain cachet with such identification. As my mate Murph says, "everyone wants to be Irish".

1/32 Aboriginal gets more complicated. There was a massive bunfight in Tassie a few years ago to decide who qualifies as Aboriginal. The reason it mattered was that there was concern the real Aboriginals might be swamped by white people encouraged to "tick the box" to get the government benefits such as legal services, scholarships and employment opportunities. Then there's the cachet factor. You get to talk about your family history on National Museum websites.

With your choices to identity by only 2 from 32 of your great great great grand parents it is almost like you are identifying with the most victimised?
 

Royce Hafey

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Are you Jacqui Lambie? Just kidding :p

Your family history is interesting. But have you considered that some of your ancestors are from nationalities that repressed the two ethnic groups that you most identify with?
Of course I'm aware of that. Almost every Palawa person (and many Aboriginal people who have European ancestry) are, almost by definition, descended from white rapists, just as most African-Americans are descended from slave owners. Are African-Americans wrong to only identify with their slave ancestors and not their slave-owning ancestors? The point of my post is that we all choose what ethnic identity is important to us, and I can add that what we make of that identity will vary from individual to individual.

For me it's not so much a thing about identity politics (which I don't like) but as a left-wing historian, an identification with and celebration of people who were oppressed, is obviously important. The memory of a Grandfather who, after clawing his own way out of poverty via education, gave free tuition to poor kids throughout his whole career - even after he rose to be a headmaster, plays its role. I don't go into bullshit reveries about Aboriginal spirituality, or drink green beer on St Patrick's Day. Nor have I ever taken any advantage of the (very limited) benefits available to me as being "indigenous" (I'm not applying for an early Covid jab, for instance). But, when I travelled around Tasmania a couple of years ago, visited the North-East of the state, including Fingal, where my Grandfather was born, and saw for the first time the beautiful country in which some of my ancestors lived for tens of thousands of years - having walked there over what is now Bass Strait - forgive me for feeling a bit emotional.

Just reading that last sentence and feel it's necessary to clarify that it was the ancestors and not me who walked over Bass Strait. I took the ferry.:)
 

Royce Hafey

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1/32 Aboriginal gets more complicated. There was a massive bunfight in Tassie a few years ago to decide who qualifies as Aboriginal. The reason it mattered was that there was concern the real Aboriginals might be swamped by white people encouraged to "tick the box" to get the government benefits such as legal services, scholarships and employment opportunities. Then there's the cachet factor. You get to talk about your family history on National Museum websites.
I'm aware of that bunfight, and a lot of it has to do with a group of people who aren't Palawa (descended from the well-documented mixed race group on the islands) and claim to have some Aboriginal ancestry without any real evidence. I, my Mum and my siblings, have met with an befriended many of the prominent people in the community and have always found them welcoming. It helps that we have no intention of claiming any scholarships etc. (as mentioned above) I could, for instance have got an automatic PhD scholarship, but chose not to apply for it. My reason for this is not a denial of being indigenous, but because I agree with those scholarships etc existing. They're needed to overcome barriers which, I never faced.

With regards to "cachet", I got some feedback from an academic I knew, when I unsuccessfully applied for a job, that I should have mentioned in my resume that I was indigenous. I didn't take her advice, because I don't think it's relevant.
 

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