In February 2023, CEMiPoS Researcher Olivia Doyle presented a two part lecture series at the Sapporo Freedom School. The lectures overviewed her ongoing work in decolonial studies, split into two projects: her undergraduate thesis and subsequent revisions, and her collaborative research paper with CEMiPoS Executive Director Hiroshi Maruyama. The first project is an unpublished manuscript that historicizes the representations of Ainu Peoples and material heritage in Japan’s national museums, and hypothesizes how these representations have communicated imperialist political messages to viewers and exacerbated colonial harms upon Ainu People. This manuscript was Doyle’s first extended attempt to understand the politics of colonialism and its consequences for Ainu Peoples. Recognizing that the work is amateur, Doyle spent the first lecture outlining the manuscript’s content, then explaining how her perspective has changed, and finally, proposing decolonial actions for national museums and settler colonists to take once learning about the ways that national museology has contributed to colonialism. Members of the audience offered feedback, particularly on Doyle’s definitions of contemporary Ainu People and suggestions for decolonization, which she is using to guide her graduate thesis.
The second project is a joint research paper with Hiroshi Maruyama and informants Kazuyoshi Honda, Kimiko Naraki, and Mamoru Tazawa concerning the forced relocation of Karafuto Ainu Peoples and contemporary demands for decolonial action. The paper is currently under review for publication by the journal Settler Colonial Studies. Doyle’s lecture covered her sections of the paper, including a historiography and an analysis of the consequences of that historiography’s revisionism for both settler colonists and Karafuto Ainu Peoples since the colonial era. Doyle particularly focused on the ways that historical revisionism influences settler colonists like herself, her reasoning being that historical revision is perpetuated by settler colonists as a tool of colonial domination, and that our participation in settler colonialism dehumanizes, desensitizes, and compels us to perpetuate colonial harm, insofar as we allow ourselves to harm Indigenous Peoples to uphold our tyranny. By focusing on the ways that revisionist historical memories hold us back from decolonizing action, Doyle set the stage to offer concrete steps for settler colonists to take towards decolonization, such as repatriating Karafuto Ainu ancestral remains to Kimura ekasi.