Indigenous

I’m not an indigenous inhabitant of this region either. I migrated down south from the north for study, work, then marriage over twenty years ago.

My maternal grandmother came to England from Ireland in the 1930s, to work as a nurse to fill hospital-staffing shortages even then.

After marrying an Englishman, she ultimately moved north to Hull for work, where they remained until retirement. They were not indigenous to that region. My parents were born and raised there, though.

Today, none of us remain there at all. We are all scattered, settling wherever we found employment and comfort. We are all mixed too. My family has been multicultural for generations. We are all the world.

I don’t really know what the Oxford professor is on about. He does not define the terms he uses to describe the indigenous populations of London. Most capital cities are multicultural and cosmopolitan, especially those with major trading ports in their heart. Lascars were present in London from the early 1700s. Many married local women and ultimately settled.

Indigenous meaning the undefined or ill-defined “white” population is hugely problematic. It means that I may be considered indigenous, despite an immigrant grandmother, but the descendants of an English grandfather and Indian grandmother may not. Does it mean that the children of a Pole are indigenous, but the children of a Kenyan are not?

We have all been mixed up, descendants of many nations, since time immemorial. Migration is part of the human story. People have always migrated from place to place and always will. None of us is ever truly indigenous.

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