Indigenous peoples
Overview
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory.

In the late twentieth century the term became a political term used to refer to ethnic groups have historical ties to groups that existed in a territory prior to colonization or formation of a nation state, and which normally preserve a degree of cultural and political separation from the mainstream culture and political system of the nation state within the border of which the indigenous group is located.
Encyclopedia
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory.

In the late twentieth century the term became a political term used to refer to ethnic groups have historical ties to groups that existed in a territory prior to colonization or formation of a nation state, and which normally preserve a degree of cultural and political separation from the mainstream culture and political system of the nation state within the border of which the indigenous group is located. The political sense of the term indigenous people, defines these groups as particularly vulnerable to exploitation and oppression by nation states, and as a result a special set of political rights in accordance with international law have been set forth by International Organizations such as the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

. The United Nations have issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007....

, the purpose of which it is to protect the collective rights of indigenous peoples to their culture, identity, language, employment, health, education andnatural resources.

Different states designate the groups within their boundaries that are recognized as indigenous peoples according to international legislation by different terms, for example "Native Americans
Native Americans
The term Native Americans may refer to:In its broadest sense, the entirety of the indigenous peoples of the American continents:*Indigenous peoples of the Americas...

" "Pacific Islander" (USA), "Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

", Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

 "First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

" (Canada), Aborigines
Australian Aborigines
Australian Aborigines , also called Aboriginal Australians, from the latin ab originem , are people who are indigenous to most of the Australian continentthat is, to mainland Australia and the island of Tasmania...

 (Australia), Hill tribes (South East Asia), indigenous ethnic minorities, Scheduled tribes or Adivasi
Adivasi
Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

 (India), tribal groups, or autochtonous groups.

Origins of phrase

During the late twentieth century the term Indigenous peoples evolved into a political term that refers to ethnic groups with historical ties to groups that existed in a territory prior to colonization or formation of a nation state. These are usually distinct ethnic groups that have preserved a degree of cultural and political separation from the mainstream culture and political system that has grown to surround or dominate them economically, politically, culturally, or geographically. "'Indigenous peoples' ... is a term that internationalizes the experiences, the issues and the struggles of some of the world's colonized peoples," writes Maori educator Linda Thuwai Smith. "The final 's' in 'indigenous peoples' ... [is] a way of recognizing that there are real differences between different indigenous peoples."

Used politically, the term defines these groups as particularly vulnerable to exploitation and oppression by nation states, and as a result a special set of political rights in accordance with international law have been set forth by international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

. The United Nations issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007....

, with the intent to protect the collective rights of indigenous peoples to their culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and natural resources.

However, the phrase is not applied consistently in all cultures. The notion of an indigenous group depends on context and other issues. The World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

s policy for indigenous people states:
Different states designate the groups within their boundaries that are recognized as indigenous peoples according to international legislation by different terms. These include, for example "Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

" and "Pacific Islander" in the United States; "Aboriginals
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 (Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

", "Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

" and "First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

)" in Canada; Aborigines
Australian Aborigines
Australian Aborigines , also called Aboriginal Australians, from the latin ab originem , are people who are indigenous to most of the Australian continentthat is, to mainland Australia and the island of Tasmania...

 in Australia; Hill tribes in South East Asia; indigenous ethnic minorities, Scheduled tribes or Adivasi
Adivasi
Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

 in India; tribal groups, or autochthonous groups.

Definition

The adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

 indigenous has the common meaning of "from" or "of the original origin". Therefore, in a purely adjectival sense any given people, ethnic group or community may be described as being indigenous in reference to some particular region or location.

Key to a contemporary understanding of "indigenousness" is the political role a cultural group plays, for all other criteria usually taken to denote indigenous groups (territory, race, history, subsistence lifestyle, etc.) can, to a greater or lesser extent, also be applied to majority cultures. Therefore, the distinction applied to indigenous groups can be formulated as "a politically underprivileged group, who share a similar... identity different to the nation in power", and who share territorial rights to a particular area governed by a colonial power.
However, the specific term indigenous peoples has a more restrictive interpretation when it used in the more formalized, legalistic, and academic sense, associated with the collective rights of human populations. In these contexts, the term is used to denote particular peoples and groups around the world who, as well as being native to or associated with some given territory, meet certain other criteria (such as having reached a social and technological plateau thousands of years ago).

Criteria

Drawing on these, a contemporary working definition of "indigenous people" for certain purposes has criteria which would seek to include cultural groups (and their continuity or association with a given region, or parts of a region, and who formerly or currently inhabit the region) either:
  • before or its subsequent colonisation
    Colonialism
    Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

     or annexation; or
  • alongside other cultural groups during the formation or reign of a colony or nation-state
    Nation-state
    The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

    ; or
  • independently or largely isolated from the influence of the claimed governance by a nation-state,


and who furthermore:
  • have maintained at least in part their distinct cultural
    Culture
    Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

    , social/organisational
    Society
    A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

    , or linguistic
    Natural language
    In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

     characteristics, and in doing so remain differentiated in some degree from the surrounding populations and dominant culture of the nation-state.


To the above, a criterion is usually added to also include:
  • peoples who are self-identified as indigenous, or those recognized as such by other groups.


Note that even if all the above criteria are fulfilled, some people may either not consider themselves as indigenous or may not be considered as indigenous by governments, organizations or scholars. The discourse of indigenous / non-indigenous may also be viewed within the context of postcolonialism
Postcolonialism
Post-colonialism is a specifically post-modern intellectual discourse that consists of reactions to, and analysis of, the cultural legacy of colonialism...

 and the evolution of post-colonial societies.

Population and distribution

Indigenous societies range from those who have been significantly exposed to the colonizing or expansionary activities of other societies (such as the Maya peoples
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 of Mexico and Central America) through to those who as yet remain in comparative isolation from any external influence (such as the Sentinelese and Jarawa of the Andaman Islands
Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian Ocean archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal between India to the west, and Burma , to the north and east...

).

Precise estimates for the total population of the world's Indigenous peoples are very difficult to compile, given the difficulties in identification and the variances and inadequacies of available census data. Recent source estimates range from 300 million to 350 million as of the start of the 21st century. This would equate to just fewer than 6% of the total world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

. This includes at least 5000 distinct peoples in over 72 countries.

Contemporary distinct indigenous groups survive in populations ranging from only a few dozen to hundreds of thousands and more. Many indigenous populations have undergone a dramatic decline and even extinction, and remain threatened in many parts of the world. Some have also been assimilated by other populations or have undergone many other changes. In other cases, indigenous populations are undergoing a recovery or expansion in numbers.

Certain indigenous societies survive even though they may no longer inhabit their "traditional" lands, owing to migration, relocation, forced resettlement or having been supplanted by other cultural groups. In many other respects, the transformation of culture
Transformation of culture
Transformation of culture, or cultural change, to the dynamic process whereby the living cultures of the world are changing and adapting to external or internal forces. This process is occurring within Western culture as well as non-Western and indigenous cultures and cultures of the world...

 of indigenous groups is ongoing, and includes permanent loss of language, loss of lands, encroachment on traditional territories, and disruption in traditional lifeways due to contamination and pollution of waters and lands.

Common characteristics

Characteristics common across many Indigenous groups include present or historical reliance upon subsistence-based production (based on pastoral
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

, horticultural and/or hunting and gathering techniques), and a predominantly non-urbanized
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 society. Not all indigenous groups share these characteristics. Indigenous societies may be either settled in a given locale/region or exhibit a nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic lifestyle across a large territory, but are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they are dependent. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent
Continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

 of the world.

Common concerns

Indigenous peoples confront a diverse range of concerns associated with their status and interaction with other cultural groups, as well as changes in their inhabited environment. Some challenges are specific to particular groups; however, other challenges are commonly experienced. Bartholomew Dean and Jerome Levi (2003) explore why and how the circumstances of indigenous peoples are improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. These issues include cultural and linguistic preservation, land rights
Land rights
Land law is the form of law that deals with the rights to use, alienate, or exclude others from land. In many jurisdictions, these species of property are referred to as real estate or real property, as distinct from personal property. Land use agreements, including renting, are an important...

, ownership and exploitation of natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

, political determination and autonomy, environmental
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

 degradation and incursion, poverty, health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, and discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

.

The interaction between indigenous and non-indigenous societies throughout history has been complex, ranging from outright conflict and subjugation to some degree of mutual benefit and cultural transfer. A particular aspect of anthropological study
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 involves investigation into the ramifications of what is termed first contact
First contact (anthropology)
First contact is a term describing the first meeting of two cultures previously unaware of one another. One notable example of first contact is that between the Spanish and the Arawak in 1492....

, the study of what occurs when two cultures first encounter one another. The situation can be further confused when there is a complicated or contested history of migration and population of a given region, which can give rise to disputes about primacy and ownership of the land and resources.

In further evidence of how vulnerable some of the Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 are, the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 Government has stated that there are "no Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 in Bangladesh". This has angered the Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

, Bangladesh, collectively known as the Jumma (whichs include the Chakma
Chakma
Chakma may refer to:*Chakma people, a Tibeto-Burman people of Bangladesh and Northeast India*Chakma language, the Indo-European language spoken by them*Chakma script...

, Marma
Marma
The Marma also known as Magh or Mog are Arakanese descendants inhabiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh since the Arakan kingdom period in the 16th century AD. In the late 20th century, their population stood at over 210,000. Ethnically related to the Myanmar, they are largely followers...

, Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

, Tenchungya, Chak
Chak
Chak is a town situated on the west bank of Indus River in Shikarpur District, Sindh, Pakistan. It is an economic, educational, social and transport hub of the adjoining towns and villages of the region. It is home to a population of more than 40,000 people and is a fast growing town with good...

, Pankho, Mru
MRU
MRU may refer to :* "Many Regrets Unable", a short reply to a social event invitation, normally followed by a reason for not attending. Used in various navies.* Mano River Union, a political union in Africa...

, Murung
Murung
Murung is the Festival of Prosperity, celebrated by the Apatanis of Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Though an individual festival, whole villages and indeed the whole of the Apatani people get involved in the festival. It is celebrated in the Month of January or Murung piilo...

, Bawm
Bawm
The Bawm are a tribal group living in the Bandarban district and a small fraction in the Rangamati district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh as well as parts of Mizoram. Of Chin origin and speaking a Tibeto-Burman dialect, their tribal population stands at 6,000...

, Lushai
Lushai
The Lusei people are one of the eleven tribes of the Mizo people, native to Mizoram in Northeast India, Chin Hills in western Myanmar and Chittagong Hill Tracts of eastern Bangladesh.-The name:...

, Khyang, Gurkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

, Assamese
Assamese people
The Assamese people are a well-defined subgroup of People of Assam. Though sometimes they are defined as the Assamese-speaking Indo-Aryans of the Brahmaputra valley,, this definition is not legally binding...

, Santal and Khumi). Experts have protested against this move of the Bangladesh Government and have questioned the Government's definition of the term "Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

". This move by the Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 Government is seen by the Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 as another step by the Government to further erode their already limited rights.

Historical cultures

The migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

, expansion and settlement of societies throughout different territories is a universal, almost defining thread which runs through the entire course of human history
History of the world
The history of the world or human history is the history of humanity from the earliest times to the present, in all places on Earth, beginning with the Paleolithic Era. It excludes non-human natural history and geological history, except insofar as the natural world substantially affects human lives...

. Many of the cross-cultural interactions which arose as a result of these historical encounters involved societies which might properly be considered as indigenous, either from their own viewpoint or that of external societies.

Most often, these past encounters between indigenous and "non-indigenous" groups lack contemporary account or description. Any assessment or understanding of impact, result and relation can at best only be surmised, using archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, linguistic
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 or other reconstructive means. Where accounts do exist, they frequently originate from the viewpoint of the colonizing, expansionary or nascent state or from rather scarce and fragmented ethnographic sources compiled by those more congenial with indigenous communities and/or representatives thereof.

Classical antiquity

Greek sources of the Classical
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 period acknowledge the prior existence of indigenous people(s), whom they referred to as "Pelasgians". These peoples inhabited lands surrounding the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 before the subsequent migrations of the Hellenic
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 ancestors claimed by these authors. The disposition and precise identity of this former group is elusive, and sources such as Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

 and Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 give varying, partially mythological
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 accounts. However, it is clear that cultures existed whose indigenous characteristics were distinguished by the subsequent Hellenic cultures (and distinct from non-Greek speaking "foreigners", termed "barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s" by the historical Greeks). Greco-Roman society flourished between 250 BC and 480 AD and commanded successive waves of conquests that gripped more than half of the globe. But because already existent populations within other parts of Europe at the time of classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 had more in common culturally speaking with the Greco-Roman world, the intricacies involved in expansion across the European frontier were not so contentious relative to indigenous issues. But when it came to expansion in other parts of the world, namely Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, then totally new cultural dynamics had entered into the equation, so to speak, and one sees here of what was to take the Americas, South East Asia, and the Pacific by storm a few hundred years later. The idea that peoples who possessed cultural customs and racial appearances strikingly different to that of the colonizing power is no new idea borne out of the Medieval period or the Age of Reason
Age of reason
Age of reason may refer to:* 17th-century philosophy, as a successor of the Renaissance and a predecessor to the Age of Enlightenment* Age of Enlightenment in its long form of 1600-1800* The Age of Reason, a book by Thomas Paine...

.

European expansion and colonialism

The rapid and extensive spread of the various European powers from the early 15th century onwards had a profound impact upon many of the indigenous cultures with whom they came into contact. The exploratory
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 and colonial ventures in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific often resulted in territorial and cultural conflict, and the intentional or unintentional displacement and devastation of the indigenous populations.

The Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 had an indigenous population called the Guanches
Guanches
Guanches is the name given to the aboriginal Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands. It is believed that they migrated to the archipelago sometime between 1000 BCE and 100 BCE or perhaps earlier...

 whose origin is still the subject of discussion among historians and linguists.

Contemporary distribution and survey

Indigenous populations are distributed in regions throughout the globe. The numbers, condition and experience of indigenous groups may vary widely within a given region. A comprehensive survey is further complicated by sometimes contentious membership and identification.

Arab Tribal Societies

The Arabian peninsula and adjacent areas are home to numerous indigenous Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 tribes.
Both the far eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula are home to a vast number of Bedouin tribes that lived in the area since pre-historical times. Many Arab tribes have moved into Africa, South Asia and South East Asia in which case they are not considered indigenous. Remnants of old South Arabian indigenous people are found in Oman and Yemen.
Amongst Arabs, a distinction is often made between Adnani Arabs (Arabic: العرب المستعربة) – (Arabized Arabs) and Qathani Arabs
Qahtanite
The terms Qahtanite and Qahtani refer to Semitic peoples either originating in, or claiming genealogical descent from the southern extent of the Arabian Peninsula, especially from Yemen....

 (Arabic: قحطان‎ ).
Since Islam forbade discrimination on racial grounds and ruled that the offspring of a slave and a free person was to inherit the family name, be an heir and also be set free, there has been a strong foreign impact on the Arab population. Because of historic intercultural intermingling there are now certain tribes that are almost entirely referred to as black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 and some tribes on the Mediterranean's far eastern seaboard that look similar to what are referred to as white people
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

. In the Gulf
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
"Arab states of the Persian Gulf" or "Arab Persian Gulf states" or "Persian Gulf Arab states" or "Arabic Persian Gulf states" or "Arab States of The Gulf", are terms that refer to the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, bordering the Persian Gulf....

 countries, in recent times there has been a large number of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

i and Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 immigrants that actually outnumber indigenous communities in many smaller states. Many have acquired citizenship trough naturalization. It is believed that these foreign groups will impose a strong future pressure on indigenous populations who are by comparison, relatively small in number. As a general rule tribes in this geographical vicinity do not practice tribal enrollment based on blood quantum as some Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribal governments do. It is a mistake to assume that only Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 Arabs are members of indigenous tribes. However, there are indigenous tribes who can trace their heritage to one of the many ancient Arabian tribes and there are indigenous groups who, for some reason or other, have lost their tribal names or affiliation due to sedentary live style or other factors.If the latter are to be considered indigenous in the narrow sense, remains subject of debate.

Africa

In the post-colonial period, the concept of specific indigenous peoples within the African continent has gained wider acceptance, although not without controversy. The highly diverse and numerous ethnic groups which comprise most modern, independent African states contain within them various peoples whose situation, cultures and pastoralist
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

 or hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 lifestyles are generally marginalized and set apart from the dominant political and economic structures of the nation. Since the late 20th century these peoples have increasingly sought recognition of their rights as distinct indigenous peoples, in both national and international contexts.
Although the vast majority of African peoples can be considered to be indigenous in the sense that they have originated from that continent and middle and south east Asia, in practice identity as an "indigenous people" as per the term's modern application is more restrictive, and certainly not every African ethnic group claims identification under these terms. Groups and communities who do claim this recognition are those who by a variety of historical and environmental circumstances have been placed outside of the dominant state systems, and whose traditional practices and land claims often come into conflict with the objectives and policies promulgated by governments, companies and surrounding dominant societies.

Given the extensive and complicated history of human migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 within Africa, being the "first peoples in a land" is not a necessary precondition for acceptance as an indigenous people. Rather, indigenous identity relates more to a set of characteristics and practices than priority of arrival. For example, several populations of nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic peoples such as the Tuareg of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 and Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

 regions now inhabit areas in which they arrived comparatively recently; their claim to indigenous status (endorsed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of...

) is based on their marginalization as nomadic peoples in states and territories dominated by sedentary agricultural peoples.
The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee
Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee
The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee was founded in 1997. It is one of the main trans-national network organizations recognised as a representative of African indigenous peoples in dialogues with governments and bodies such as the UN...

 (IPACC) is one of the main trans-national network organizations recognized as a representative of African indigenous peoples in dialogues with governments and bodies such as the UN. IPACC identifies several key characteristics associated with indigenous claims in Africa:
  • political and economic marginalization rooted in colonialism;
  • de facto discrimination based often on the dominance of agricultural peoples in the State system (e.g. lack of access to education and health care by hunters and herders);
  • the particularities of culture, identity, economy and territoriality that link hunting and herding peoples to their home environments in deserts and forests (e.g. nomadism, diet, knowledge systems);
  • some indigenous peoples, such as the San
    Bushmen
    The indigenous people of Southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, or Khwe...

     and Pygmy
    Pygmy
    Pygmy is a term used for various ethnic groups worldwide whose average height is unusually short; anthropologists define pygmy as any group whose adult men grow to less than 150 cm in average height. A member of a slightly taller group is termed "pygmoid." The best known pygmies are the Aka,...

     peoples are physically distinct, which makes them subject to specific forms of discrimination.

With respect to concerns expressed that identifying some groups and not others as indigenous is in itself discriminatory
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

, IPACC states that it:
  • "...recognises that all Africans should enjoy equal rights and respect. All of Africa's diversity is to be valued. Particular communities, due to historical and environmental circumstances, have found themselves outside the state-system and underrepresented in governance...This is not to deny other Africans their status; it is to emphasise that affirmative recognition is necessary for hunter-gatherers and herding peoples to ensure their survival."


At an African inter-governmental level, the examination of indigenous rights and concerns is pursued by a sub-commission established under the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of...

, sponsored by the African Union (AU)
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 (successor body to the Organization of African Unity (OAU)). In late 2003 the 53 signatory states of the ACHPR adopted the Report of the African Commission's Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and its recommendations. This report says in part (p. 62):
  • ...certain marginalized groups are discriminated in particular ways because of their particular culture, mode of production and marginalized position within the state[; a] form of discrimination that other groups within the state do not suffer from. The call of these marginalized groups to protection of their rights is a legitimate call to alleviate this particular form of discrimination.

The adoption of this report at least notionally subscribed the signatories to the concepts and aims of furthering the identity and rights of African Indigenous peoples. The extent to which individual states are mobilizing to put these recommendations into practice varies enormously, however, and most Indigenous groups continue to agitate for improvements in the areas of land rights, use of natural resources, protection of environment and culture, political recognition and freedom from discrimination.

Americas

Indigenous peoples of the American
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 continents are broadly recognized as being those groups and their descendants who inhabited the region before the arrival of European colonizers and settlers (i.e., Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

). Indigenous peoples who maintain, or seek to maintain, traditional ways of life are found from the high Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 north to the southern extremities of Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

.
The impact of European colonization of the Americas
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 on the indigenous communities has been in general quite severe, with many authorities estimating ranges of significant population decline
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

 due to the ravages of various genocide campaigns, epidemic diseases (smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, etc.), displacement, conflict, compulsory boarding schools, massacres and exploitation. The extent of this impact is the subject of much continuing debate. Several peoples shortly thereafter became extinct, or very nearly so.

All nations in North and South America have populations of indigenous peoples within their borders. In some countries (particularly Latin American), indigenous peoples form a sizable component of the overall national population—in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 they account for an estimated 56%–70% of the total nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

, and at least half of the population in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 and the Andean and Amazonian nations of Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. In English, indigenous peoples are collectively referred to by several different terms which vary by region and include such ethnonyms as Native Americans, Amerindians, Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. In Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries one finds the use of terms such as pueblos indígenas, amerindios, povos nativos, povos indígenas, and in Peru, Comunidades Nativas, particularly among Amazonian societies like the Urarina
Urarina
The Urarina are an indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon Basin who inhabit the Chambira, Urituyacu, and Corrientes Rivers. According to both archaeological and historical sources, they have resided in the Chambira Basin of contemporary northeastern Peru for centuries. The Urarina refer to...

 and Matsés
Matsés
The Matsés or Mayoruna are an indigenous tribe of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon. The tribe's ancestral lands are currently threatened by illegal logging practices and poaching. These homelands are located between the Javari and Galvez rivers...

.

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the term índio (ˈĩdʒi.u or ˈĩdʒju) is used by most of the population, the media, the indigenous peoples themselves and even the government (FUNAI
Funai
Funai Electric is a Japanese consumer electronics company headquartered in Daitō, Osaka. The company was founded in 1961. It owns the subsidiary Funai Corporation, Inc., established in the United States since 1991, to market and maintain Funai-licensed brands such as Sylvania, Emerson Radio,...

 is acronym for Fundação Nacional do Índio), although its Hispanic equivalent indio is widely not considered politically correct and falling into desuse. Nevertheless, Portuguese for Amerindian and amerindio, ameríndio (ameˈɾĩdʒi.u or ameˈɾĩdʒju in the standard South American dialects) is gaining some popularity, still, it seems odd for many. The widespread completely politically correct term of which Brazilians are used to is indígena ĩˈdʒiʒenɐ (although its literal translation is "indigenous person or peoples from anywhere", it is colloquially intended as synonym for Amerindian, without need for specifications in reference to the indigenous peoples of what continent; South American Portuguese for Inuit is either esquimó eskiˈmɔ or the much less common inuíte ĩnuˈitʃi, and they are not considered ameríndios or índios but indígenas do Ártico, or even far more colloquially povo do Polo Norte, "the people from the North Pole"). It has more ethnic meanings than racial ones, and a "Westerner" in Brazil can be an acculturated ameríndio/índio but not an indígena, which officially means indigenous in the narrow sense; when somebody in the former acknowledges it, will usually choose the racial group of Pardo
Pardo
In Brazil, Pardo is a race/colour category used by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics in Brazilian censuses. It is a Portuguese word that encompasses various shades of brown, but is usually translated as "grayish-brown"...

s (colored and multiracial people i.e. everyone who does not fall into White, East Asian, Indigenous or African Brazilian) and very seldom Asian Brazilian
Asian Brazilian
An Asian Brazilian is is a Brazilian citizen of full or partial Asian ancestry, who remains culturally connected to Asia, or an Asian-born person permanently residing in Brazil. Brazil received many immigrants from Asia, both from Middle East and East Asia...

s (brasileiros de cor amarela, lit. yellow skin color but actually "yellow race") in censuses, since there is no category that groups Amerindians together by race in IBGE
IBGE
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics or IBGE , is the agency responsible for statistical, geographic, cartographic, geodetic and environmental information in Brazil...

.

Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 comprise the First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

" are falling into disuse in Canada. There are currently over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands encompassing 1,172,790 2006 peoples spread across Canada with distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, and music. National Aboriginal Day
National Aboriginal Day
National Aboriginal Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated on June 21...

 recognises the cultures and contributions of Aboriginals to the history of Canada
History of Canada
The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, among whom evolved trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies...



]
The Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 have achieved a degree of administrative autonomy with the creation in 1999 of the territories of Nunavik
Nunavik
Nunavik comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada. Covering a land area of 443,684.71 km² north of the 55th parallel, it is the homeland of the Inuit of Quebec...

 (in Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut
Nunatsiavut
Nunatsiavut is an autonomous area claimed by the Inuit in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The settlement area includes territory in Labrador extending to the Quebec border. In 2002, the Labrador Inuit Association submitted a proposal for limited autonomy to the government of Newfoundland and...

 (in Northern Labrador) and Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

, which was until 1999 a part of the Northwest Territories. The self-rulingDanish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 territory of Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 is also home to a majority population of indigenous Inuit (about 85%).
In the United States, the combined populations of Native Americans, Inuit and other indigenous designations totalled 2,786,652 (constituting about 1.5% of 2003 US census figures). Some 563 scheduled tribes are recognized at the Federal level, and a number of others recognized at the State level.

In Mexico, approximately 6,011,202 (constituting about 6.7% of 2005 Mexican census figures) identify as Indígenas (Spanish for natives or indigenous peoples). In the southern states of Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

, Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

 and Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

 they constitute 26.1%, 33.5% and 35.3%, respectively, of the population. In these states several conflicts and episodes of civil war have been conducted, in which the situation and participation of indigenous societies were notable factors (see for example EZLN
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico....

).

The Amerindians make up 0.4% of Brazil's population, or about 700,000 people. Indigenous peoples are found in the entire territory of Brazil, although the majority of them live in Indian reservations in the North and Center-Western part of the country. On 18 January 2007, FUNAI
Fundação Nacional do Índio
Fundação Nacional do Índio or FUNAI is a Brazilian governmental protection agency for Indian interests and their culture.It was originally called the SPI and was founded by the Brazilian Marshal Cândido Rondon in 1910, who also created the agency's motto, "Die if necessary, but never kill." The...

 reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes
Uncontacted peoples
Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalized civilisation....

 in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil has now overtaken the island of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 as the country having the largest number of uncontacted tribes.

Guatemala is 50 to 80% indigenous, depending on whose statistics are used (Nelson, Finger in the Wound 1999)

Asia

See also: :Category:Indigenous peoples of Asia

The vast regions of Asia contain the majority of the world's present-day Indigenous populations, about 70% according to IWGIA figures.

The most substantial populations are in India, which constitutionally recognizes a range of "Scheduled Tribes" within its borders. These various peoples (collectively referred to as Adivasi
Adivasi
Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

s, or tribal peoples) number about 68 million (1991 census figures, approximately 8% of the total national population).
Nivkh people are an ethnic group indigenous to Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

, having a few speakers of the Nivkh language
Nivkh language
Nivkh or Gilyak is a language spoken in Outer Manchuria, in the basin of the Amgun , along the lower reaches of the Amur itself, and on the northern half of Sakhalin. 'Gilyak' is the Manchu appellation...

, but their fisher culture has been endangered due to the development of oil field of Sakhalin from 1990s.

Ainu people
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

 are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, and much of Sakhalin. As Japanese settlement expanded, the Ainu were pushed northward, until by the Meiji period
Meiji period
The , also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan.- Meiji Restoration and the emperor :...

 they were confined by the government to a small area in Hokkaidō, in a manner similar to the placing of Native Americans on reservations.

The languages of Taiwanese aborigines
Taiwanese aborigines
Taiwanese aborigines is the term commonly applied in reference to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Although Taiwanese indigenous groups hold a variety of creation myths, recent research suggests their ancestors may have been living on the islands for approximately 8,000 years before major Han...

 have significance in historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

, since in all likelihood Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 was the place of origin of the entire Austronesian language family, which spread across Oceania.

There are indigenous peoples of the Philippines
Indigenous peoples of the Philippines
The indigenous peoples of the Philippines consist of a large number of indigenous ethnic groups living in the country. They are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines who have managed to resist centuries of Spanish and United States colonization and in the process have...

, which Spain and the United States colonized.

The Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and Marsh Arabs
Marsh Arabs
The Marsh Arabs , also known as the Maʻdān , are inhabitants of the Tigris-Euphrates marshlands in the south and east of Iraq and along the Iranian border....

 are indigenous to areas of the geocultural region of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 which includes parts of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. The Lurs also inhabit parts of Iraq close to the Iranian border with the provinces of Lorestan and Ilam
Ilam Province
Ilam Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the south-west of the country, bordering Iraq. Its provincial center is the city of Ilam. Covering an area of 19,086 square kilometers, the cities of the province are Ilam, Mehran, Dehloran, Dareh Shahr, Sarable, Eyvan, Abdanan and Arkwaz...

.

The Bahrani are the indigenous people of the archipelago of Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 and the oasis of Qatif
Qatif
Qatif or Al-Qatif is a governorate and urban area located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. It extends from Ras Tanura and Jubail in the north to Dammam in the south, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to King Fahd International Airport in the west...

 on the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 coast of Saudi Arabia (see historical region of Bahrain
Bahrain (historical region)
Bahrain is a historical region in eastern Arabia that was known as the Province of Bahrain until the 16th Century. It stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf coast and included the regions of Kuwait, Al-Hasa, Qatif, Qatar, and the Awal Islands, now known as Bahrain. The name...

).

Europe

See also: :Category:Indigenous peoples of Europe and European ethnic groups
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....



Since most of Europe in historical times was never colonized by non-European powers with lasting effect (arguably except for Hungary, Turkish Thrace, Tatarstan
Tatarstan
The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan, which is one of Russia's largest and most prosperous cities. The republic borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, and with the Mari El, Udmurt,...

, Kalmykia
Kalmykia
The Republic of Kalmykia is a federal subject of Russia . Population: It is the only Buddhist region in Europe. It has also become well-known as an international chess mecca because its former President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is the head of the International Chess Federation .-Geography:*Area:...

 and islands such as Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 or Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

), the vast majority of Europeans can be considered indigenous. However several widely accepted formulations, which define the term "Indigenous peoples" in stricter terms, have been put forward by internationally recognized organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

 and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

. Indigenous peoples in this article is used in such a narrower sense.

In Europe, present-day recognized indigenous populations are relatively few, mainly confined to northern and far-eastern reaches of this Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

n peninsula. Whilst there are various ethnic minorities distributed within European countries, few of these still maintain traditional subsistence cultures and are recognized as indigenous peoples, per se. Notable indigenous populations include the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 of northern Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, the Nenets
Nenets people
The Nenets are an indigenous people in Russia. According to the latest census in 2002, there are 41,302 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug...

 and other Samoyedic peoples
Samoyedic peoples
The term Samoyedic peoples is used to describe peoples speaking Samoyedic languages, which are part of the Uralic family. They are a linguistic grouping, not an ethnic or cultural one. The name derives from the obsolete term Samoyed used in Russia for some indigenous peoples of Siberia...

 of the northern Russian Federation, and the Komi peoples
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 of the western Urals
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

.

The Basque people
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

, inhabiting northern Spain and southwestern France, are one of the oldest indigenous groups in Europe. It is widely held that most likely the Basques are the last surviving ethno-linguistic group descended from populations of Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

 before the intrusion of Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 languages and peoples. Another theory about Basque origins
Origin of the Basques
The Basques have occupied much the same area of northern Spain and southern France for thousands of years, at one time extending further eastward and northwards into Gascony and the Pyrenees, as attested by archaeological and toponymical evidence. The Basque language, known as Euskara, is generally...

 suggests that they are a remnant of Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 Europeans inhabiting continuously the Franco-Cantabrian region since at least Magdalenian
Magdalenian
The Magdalenian , refers to one of the later cultures of the Upper Paleolithic in western Europe, dating from around 17,000 BP to 9,000 BP...

 times. The only archaeological evidence for an invasion of the Basque Country dates to some 40,000 years ago when Cro-Magnon
Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 people first arrived in Europe and superseded Homo neanderthalensis
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo genus known from Pleistocene specimens found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia...

.

North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 is unique in its diversity, with a greater variety of languages
Languages of the Caucasus
The languages of the Caucasus are a large and extremely varied array of languages spoken by more than ten million people in and around the Caucasus Mountains, which lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea....

 spoken there than in any region of similar size in the world. Caucasus region is the home of over 50 cultural minorities like the Circassians. See also: Peoples of the Caucasus.

Oceania

Many of the present-day Pacific Island nations in the Oceania region were originally populated by Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n, Melanesia
Melanesia
Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania extending from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region comprises most of the islands immediately north and northeast of Australia...

n and Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

n peoples over the course of thousands of years. European colonial expansion in the Pacific brought many of these under non-indigenous administration. During the 20th century several of these former colonies gained independence and nation-states were formed under local control. However, various peoples have put forward claims for Indigenous recognition where their islands are still under external administration; examples include the Chamorros
Chamorros
The Chamorro people, or Chamoru people, are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, which include the American territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia. Today, significant Chamoru populations also exist in several U.S. states...

 of Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 and the Northern Marianas, and the Marshallese of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

.

The remains of at least 25 miniature humans, who lived between 1,000 and 3,000 years ago, were recently found on the islands of Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

 in Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

.

In most parts of Oceania, indigenous peoples outnumber the descendants of colonists. Exceptions include Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. According to the 2001 Australian census, indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

 make up 2.4% of the total population, while in New Zealand 14.6% of the population identify at least partially as indigenous Māori, with slightly more than half (53%) of all Māori residents identifying solely as Māori. The Māori are indigenous to Polynesia and settled New Zealand relatively recently, the migrations were thought to have occurred between 1000–1200 CE. In New Zealand pre-contact Māori tribes were not a single people, thus the more recent grouping into tribal (iwi) arrangements has become a more formal arrangement in more recent times. Many Māori tribal leaders signed a treaty with the British, Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

, so that the modern geo-political entity that is New Zealand was established by partial consent. However, the Māori language translation of the Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

 which they signed is worded ambiguously and does not fully match the English version. The treaty process gave British citizenship to the 'native' population. However, some of the British settlers ignored the Treaty of Waitangi and through some illegal acts of colonisation and war (though there were legitimate land sales between Maori and the settlers) Maori lost 95% of their land and resources from the 1850s through to the 1970s which resulted in the large scale socio-economic marginalization of the vast majority of Maori. Since the 1970s there has been a cultural renaissance by Maori, and a political drive to assert their Treaty rights to their land, resources and culture through the Waitangi Tribunal http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/ process. This has resulted in the legal recognition of the Maori language and culture and has resulted in the return of some land, resources and money so that today Māori businesses have an estimated value of over NZD$14 billion. Māori have also formed an important political party.

The independent state of Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 has a majority population of indigenous societies, with some 700+ different tribal groups recognized out of a total population of just over 5 million. The PNG Constitution and other Acts identify traditional or custom-based practices and land tenure, and explicitly sets out to promote the viability of these traditional societies within the modern state. However, several conflicts and disputes concerning land use and resource rights continue to be observed between indigenous groups, the government and corporate entities.

Rights, issues and concerns

Wherever indigenous cultural identity is asserted, some particular set of societal issues and concerns may be voiced which either arise from (at least in part), or have a particular dimension associated with, their indigenous status. These concerns will often be commonly held or affect other societies also, and are not necessarily experienced uniquely by indigenous groups.

Despite the diversity of Indigenous peoples, it may be noted that they share common problems and issues in dealing with the prevailing, or invading, society. They are generally concerned that the cultures of Indigenous peoples are being lost and that indigenous peoples suffer both discrimination and pressure to assimilate into their surrounding societies. This is borne out by the fact that the lands and cultures of nearly all of the peoples listed at the end of this article are under threat. Notable exceptions are the Sakha
Yakuts
Yakuts , are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha Republic.The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages....

 and Komi peoples
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 (two of the northern indigenous peoples of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

), who now control their own autonomous republics within the Russian state, and the Canadian Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, who form a majority of the territory of Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

 (created in 1999).

It is also sometimes argued that it is important for the human species as a whole to preserve a wide range of cultural diversity
Cultural diversity
Cultural diversity is having different cultures respect each other's differences. It could also mean the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole...

 as possible, and that the protection of indigenous cultures is vital to this enterprise.

An example of this occurred in 2002 when the Government of Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 expelled all the Kalahari
Kalahari Desert
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending , covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa, as semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains. The Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert...

 Bushmen known as the San from their lands on which they had lived for at least twenty thousand years. President Festus Mogai has described the Bushmen
Bushmen
The indigenous people of Southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, or Khwe...

 as "stone age creatures" and a minister for local government, Margaret Nasha
Margaret Nasha
Margaret Nnananyana Nasha is a politician from Botswana, the first female speaker of the Parliament of Botswana. She represents the Botswana Democratic Party....

, likened public criticism of their eviction to criticism of the culling of elephants. In 2006, the Botswanan High Court ruled that the Bushmen had a right to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana. Established in 1961 it covers an area of 52,800 km² making it the second largest game reserve in the world.The park contains wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog,...

.

Health Issues

In December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 proclaimed the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, and requested UN specialized agencies to consider with governments and indigenous people how they can contribute to the success of the Decade of Indigenous People, commencing in December 1994. As a consequence, the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, at its Forty-seventh World Health Assembly established a core advisory group of indigenous representatives with special knowledge of the health needs and resources of their communities, thus beginning a long-term commitment to the issue of the health of indigenous peoples.

The WHO notes, that "Statistical data on the health status of indigenous peoples is scarce. This is especially notable for indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia and eastern Europe", but snapshots from various countries, where such statistics are available, show that indigenous people are in worse health than the general population, in advanced and developing countries alike: higher incidence of diabetes in some regions of Australia; higher prevalence of poor sanitation
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 and lack of safe water among Twa households in Rwanda; a greater prevalence of childbirths without prenatal care
Prenatal care
Prenatal care refers to the medical and nursing care recommended for women before and during pregnancy. The aim of good prenatal care is to detect any potential problems early, to prevent them if possible , and to direct the woman to appropriate specialists, hospitals, etc...

 among ethnic minorities in Vietman; suicide rates among Inuit youth in Canada are eleven times higher than the national average; infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 rates are higher for indigenous peoples everywhere.

Accredited organizations

Various organizations are devoted to the preservation or study of indigenous peoples. Of these, several have widely recognized credentials to act as an intermediary or representative on behalf of indigenous peoples' groups, in negotiations on indigenous issues with governments and international organizations. These include:
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)
    African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
    The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of...

  • Center for World Indigenous Studies
    Center for World Indigenous Studies
    The Center for World Indigenous Studies is a non-profit American organization. It was founded in 1984 by Dr. Rudolph C. Ryser, Ph.D. and Chief George Manuel as an independent research and education organization...

  • Cultural Survival
    Cultural Survival
    Cultural Survival is a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA which is dedicated to defending the human rights of indigenous peoples. Their stated mandate is to promote the rights, voices and visions, of indigenous people. For 37 years, Cultural Survival has partnered with...

  • Friends of Peoples Close to Nature (fPcN)
    Friends of Peoples Close to Nature
    Friends of Peoples Close to Nature is a non-governmental human rights organization that works in the field of indigenous rights. The organization is dedicated to the survival of tribal peoples, in particular hunter-gatherers...

  • Incomindios Switzerland
    Incomindios Switzerland
    Incomindios Switzerland is a human rights organization that focuses on the rights of the native populations of North, South, and Central America....

  • Indigenous Dialogues
    Indigenous Dialogues
    The Indigenous Dialogues Foundation was an international project which sought to empower organisations of indigenous peoples worldwide to communicate directly, freely, and affordably, allowing them to more effectively work together for their common interests.ID provided internet connectivity and...

  • Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC)
    Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee
    The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee was founded in 1997. It is one of the main trans-national network organizations recognised as a representative of African indigenous peoples in dialogues with governments and bodies such as the UN...

  • International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
    The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs is an independent and non-profit international human rights-based membership organization, whose central charter is to endorse and promote the collective rights of the world's indigenous peoples...

  • Survival International
    Survival International
    Survival International is a human rights organisation formed in 1969 that campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples and uncontacted peoples, seeking to help them to determine their own future. Their campaigns generally focus on tribal peoples' fight to keep their ancestral lands,...

  • Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV)
    Society for Threatened Peoples
    Society for Threatened Peoples is an international NGO and human rights organization based in Göttingen, Germany. It seeks to create awareness of and protect minority peoples around the world who are threatened by oppressive governments. The group states on its website that it "campaigns against...


International Day of the World's Indigenous People

The International Day of the World's Indigenous People falls on August 9 as this was the date of the first meeting in 1982 of the United Nations Working Group of Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights.

The UN General Assembly decided on 23 December 1994, that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People should be observed on August 9 every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (resolution 49/214). Later on 20 December 2004 the assembly decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People every year during the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (2005–2014) (resolution 59/174).

Knowledge and culture

The preservation and investigation of specialized Indigenous knowledge
Traditional knowledge
Traditional knowledge , indigenous knowledge , traditional environmental knowledge and local knowledge generally refer to the long-standing traditions and practices of certain regional, indigenous, or local communities. Traditional knowledge also encompasses the wisdom, knowledge, and teachings...

, particularly in relation to the resources of the natural environment with which the society is associated, is a goal of both the Indigenous and the societies who thereby seek to identify new resources and benefits (example: partnerships established to research biological extracts from vegetation in the Amazon rainforests
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

).

For some people (e.g. Indigenous communities from India, Brazil, and Malaysia and some NGOs such as GRAIN
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and Third World Network
Third World Network
The Third World Network is an international network of organizations and individuals involved in issues relating to environment, development and the Third World and North-South issues. It has its international secretariat in Penang, Malaysia...

), Indigenous peoples have often been victims of biopiracy
Biopiracy
- Biopiracy and bioprospecting :Bioprospecting is an umbrella term describing the discovery of new and useful biological samples and mechanisms, typically in less-developed countries, either with or without the help of indigenous knowledge, and with or without compensation...

 when they are subjected to unauthorized use of their natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s, of their traditional knowledge on these biological resources, of unequal share of benefits between them and a patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 holder.

Viewpoints

A range of differing viewpoints and attitudes have arisen from the experience and history of contact between Indigenous and "non-indigenous" communities. The cultural, regional and historical contexts in which these viewpoints have developed are complex, and many competing viewpoints exist simultaneously in any given society, albeit promulgated with greater or lesser force depending on the extent of cross-cultural exposure and internal societal change. These views may be noted from both sides of the relationship.

Indigenous viewpoints

Indigenous peoples are increasingly faced with threats to their sovereignty, environment, and access to natural resources. Examples of this can be the deforestation of tropical rainforests where many native tribe's subsistence lifestyles are threatened. Assimilative colonial policies resulted in ongoing issues related to aboriginal child protection
Aboriginal child protection
Aboriginal child protection describes services designed specifically for protection of the children of "aboriginal" or indigenous peoples, particularly where these peoples are a minority within a country. They may differ at international, national, legal, cultural, social, professional and program...

.

Non-indigenous viewpoints

Indigenous peoples have been denoted primitives, savages, or uncivilized. These terms were common during the heights of European colonial expansion, but still continue in modern times. During the 17th century, indigenous peoples were commonly labeled "uncivilized". Whilst there was a swell in bringing back creative elements of classical antiquity in artistic pursuits, there was also the not so creative side of regurgitating xenophobic ideas from that period. Some philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

 considered indigenous people to be merely 'savages', while others are purported to have considered them to be "noble savage
Noble savage
The term noble savage , expresses the concept an idealized indigene, outsider , and refers to the literary stock character of the same...

s". Those who were close to the Hobbesian view tended to believe themselves to have a duty to civilize and modernize indigenes. Although anthropologists, especially from Europe, used to apply these terms to all tribal cultures, it has fallen into disfavor as demeaning and, according to anthropologists, inaccurate (see tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

, cultural evolution). Survival International
Survival International
Survival International is a human rights organisation formed in 1969 that campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples and uncontacted peoples, seeking to help them to determine their own future. Their campaigns generally focus on tribal peoples' fight to keep their ancestral lands,...

 runs a campaign to stamp out media portrayal of indigenous peoples as 'primitive' or 'savages'. Friends of Peoples Close to Nature
Friends of Peoples Close to Nature
Friends of Peoples Close to Nature is a non-governmental human rights organization that works in the field of indigenous rights. The organization is dedicated to the survival of tribal peoples, in particular hunter-gatherers...

 considers not only that indigenous culture should be respected as not being inferior, but also sees their way of life as a lesson of sustainability and a part of the struggle within the "corrupted" western world, from which the threat stems.

After World War I, however, many Europeans came to doubt the value of civilization. At the same time, the anti-colonial movement, and advocates of indigenous peoples, argued that words such as "civilized" and "savage" were products and tools of colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, and argued that colonialism itself was savagely destructive.

In the mid 20th century, European attitudes began to shift to the view that indigenous and tribal peoples should have the right to decide for themselves what should happen to their ancient cultures and ancestral lands.

Some criticisms of the concept of indigenous peoples are:
  • Peoples have invaded or colonized each other's lands since before recorded history and so the division into indigenous and non-indigenous is a matter of judgment. Even in recent centuries there are difficulties: for example, are the Zulu people indigenous to South Africa?
  • Lumping indigenous peoples into one group ignores the vast amounts of diversity among them and at the same time imposes a uniform identity on them, which may not be historically accurate.

See also

  • Collective rights
  • Colonialism
    Colonialism
    Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

  • Ethnic minority
  • Human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

  • The Image Expedition
    The Image Expedition
    The Image Expedition is an American not-for-profit organization that produces multi-platform projects, which serve to photograph and document indigenous ways of life that are at risk of disappearing...

  • Indigenous intellectual property
    Indigenous intellectual property
    Indigenous intellectual property is an umbrella legal term used in national and international forums to identify indigenous peoples' special rights to claim all that their indigenous groups know now, have known, or will know....

  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
    Intangible Cultural Heritage
    The concept of intangible cultural heritage emerged in the 1990s, as a counterpart to the World Heritage that focuses mainly on tangible aspects of culture...

  • Isuma
    Isuma
    Isuma is Canada's first Inuit production company co-founded by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn in Igloolik, Nunavut in 1990...

  • Uncontacted peoples
    Uncontacted peoples
    Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalized civilisation....

  • United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
    United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
    The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. "Indigenous person" means native, original, first people and aboriginal. There are more than 370 million indigenous...

  • Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
    Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
    The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization , formed in 11 February 1991, in The Hague, is an international organization of political organisations and governments representing self-proclaimed "indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories". The organization...

  • List of ethnic groups
  • Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative
    Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative
    The Indigenous Peoples' Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative is an international indigenous research initiative arising out of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where it was noted:" ....



Further reading

  • United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, from Study of the Problem of Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations, J. Martinez Cobo, United Nations Special Rapporteur (1987)
  • Report of the African Commission's Working Group of Experts on Indigenous Populations/Communities November 2003
  • FRITZ Jean-Claude, La nouvelle question indigène. Peuples autochthones et ordre mondial (en co-direction avec Frédéric Déroche, Gérard Fritz et Raphaël Porteilla), Paris, L'Harmattan, 2006.
  • FRITZ Jean-Claude, L'humanité face à la mondialisation. Droit des peuples et environnement (en co-direction avec Charalambos Apostolidis et Gérard Fritz), Paris, L'Harmattan, 1997.
  • Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues: An Encyclopedia, by Bruce E. Johansen. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 2003. 506p., ISBN 978-0-313-32398-0


External links

Institutions


Indigenous studies

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