Indigenous Islanders are Employing Shamanic Symbolism to Resist Jeju Island’s Proposed 2nd Airport.

Residents of Jeju Island (South Korea) are resisting a proposed airport that would displace people from five villages. The project has been imposed on local communities without consultation, and with little consideration on how the planned influx of millions of tourists would impact on rural people. The majority of local people oppose the airport, and it is being met with a series of protests.

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IMG_3012 Onpyoung Village resident in costume, speaking as the Youngdeung Goddess at a demonstration last week. The goddess is worshipped in a rite performed by shamans each lunar February.

Indigenous residents of Jeju Island’s southeastern region are employing traditional shamanic culture to protest the airport that is slated to displace the populations of five villages. So far, the mainstream media outside of Jeju has done little to document resistance to the project. The new airport is opposed by the majority of residents in the villages affected. Hundreds of locals from Onpyoung  and Sinsan villages, elderly and young alike, including middle school students, have enacted a series of demonstrations against the development.

IMG_2997 Residents dressed as Jeju’s three founding father figures, Go, Yang and Boo, the mythical original residents of Jeju Island.

IMG_2973 “You’re trashing our hometown and we’ll have nowhere to go.”

IMG_3009 Farmers and women divers (haenyo) from the village gather in front…

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