Tribe Seeks Recognition in Census

As a nationwide census gets under way in Kyrgyzstan, one group in the south of the country is seeking to register as a hitherto unrecognised nation.

Tribe Seeks Recognition in Census

As a nationwide census gets under way in Kyrgyzstan, one group in the south of the country is seeking to register as a hitherto unrecognised nation.

Wednesday, 25 March, 2009
Most observers regard the Kypchaks as just one of the many tribal divisions and subdivisions that make up the Kyrgyz nation, but Kamchybek Samatov, a retired teacher from the village of Bujum in Batken region, thinks otherwise.


In the latest round in a two-decade struggle for formal recognition of a distinct ethnicity, Samatov and his supporters plan to give their identity – and their language too – as “Kypchak” when the census-takers come round.



Other villagers in Bujum interviewed by reporter Ulukbu Amirova appeared less certain about whether they need separate status, or whether their southern dialect is really a different language.



Census officials say they will write down exactly what people tell them, although that does not mean the responses will form the basis for recording the presence of a Kypchak nation.



(For more on the Kypchaks, see Kyrgyzstan: Alarm at Tribal Claim to Separate Status, RCA No. 569, 10-Mar-09.)

Kyrgyzstan
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