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Assyrians are not recognized by any constitution or regime in the region as a distinct ethnocultural group, and when they are mentioned, it is only in terms of their sectarian religious identity.
But Assyrians face obstacles in their claims of indigeneity that are vastly unlike those of indigenous communities in Western countries.
Generally, discourse about indigenous issues works within a European colonial and postcolonial paradigm—that is, case studies of peoples colonized by Europeans dominate the literature, from Native American nations to the Ma’sai of Kenya to the Temuntikans of Costa Rica.
Indigenous peoples such as the Assyrians break the mold of the discussion, because the actions of European colonizers form only one part of the group’s history.
Their antiquity and distinctiveness remained invisible, drowned out by the focus on the Arab and Kurdish character of the region. First, the Kurds continue to command political and popular attention in the region.
In other words, colonization is not a solely European-oriented matter.
Most of the voices that have addressed indigeneity in the Middle East have arisen from the debate over the Israel/Palestine question.
Their trials and tribulations are real, but they outshine others because of their geopolitical significance—now largely accepted in such spheres as academia, media, culture, and literature.
Second, the Kurds are viewed as the major ethnic group in the region without a homeland.