The Ainu people, who are approximately 20 000 in number are the only officially recognized indigenous peoples in Japan. After lengthy battles by the Ainu people, the Japanese government finally recognized them as Indigenous Peoples of Japan, which is a real victory for the Ainu community, but Ainu indigenous peoples’ representatives say that the struggles of Ainu are not over yet. They continue to face discrimination, they are not yet free to celebrate their culture, to speak the Ainu language or to express their distinct identity.
Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Avexnim Cojtí Ren investigates the movement to repatriate sacred objects, remains, and cultural patrimony taken without consent from Indigenous Peoples by governments, collectors, and individuals. Concepts of ownership, histories of oppression, methods of legal recourse, and recent examples of repatriation attempts all play an important role in the prospects for the return of heritage items to Indigenous Peoples.