The Fourth 2021 Kyoto Kokoro Initiative Workshop Was Held
The fourth 2021 Kyoto Kokoro Initiative workshop was held on September 8th, 2021. Prof. Noriko Ishiyama (School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University) gave a presentation entitled “Stories of Intergenerational Trauma and Hope: Nuclear Development and Indigenous Peoples in the United States.” The workshop was held online with 10 attendees.
Prof. Ishiyama began the presentation by explaining the concept of “settler colonialism,” a structure inherent in the United States. Settler colonialism is the process by which settlers come to a new land and erase and make invisible the existence of the previous inhabitants of the land, and also refers to the structure of people’s thinking and society that emerges from such history.
The structure of “settler colonialism” is deeply rooted in contemporary American society. She exemplified this through the following examples: the cultural theft of indigenous costumes by a famous underwear manufacturer, and the criticism of the singing of “This Land is Your Land” at Biden’s inauguration. According to Prof. Ishiyama, these examples illustrate the reality that the existence of indigenous people is being forgotten while diversity is being celebrated, especially in terms of immigrants. At the same time, she explained that Native Americans have not only been made invisible in American culture but also been victims of violence and social structures.
In the latter half of the presentation, Prof. Ishiyama reported on her field research and introduced interviews with indigenous people living in a nuclear development area called the “sacrifice zone.”
What emerged from the interviews was a picture of indigenous people who value their ancestral lands and are trying to survive in a nuclear development area, sometimes having a contradictory relationship with the current state of nuclear development. Finally, referring to David Shorter’s discussion, Prof. Ishiyama suggested that in considering the kokoro of indigenous peoples, it is necessary to think about “relationality” that emphasizes the relationships between them and their surroundings, rather than “spirituality” that tends to be stereotyped.
In the following discussion, the topics included the uniqueness of the indigenous people’s feelings toward their land, the relationship between the indigenous people’s feelings of anger and resentment and American culture, and the differences in the ways Japanese people and Westerners react to anger. A comparison of the three perspectives of the United States, Japan, and indigenous peoples led to a deeper discussion of the “kokoro” of each.