Indigenous peoples

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The Guarani people like those in picture are Indigenous inhabitants of Paraguay and Brazil. Guarani Family.JPG
The Guaraní people like those in picture are Indigenous inhabitants of Paraguay and Brazil.
A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley, Arizona, United States. Navajo Cowboy-1.jpg
A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley, Arizona, United States.
Inuit on a traditional qamutik (dog sled) in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada. Qamutik 1 1999-04-01.jpg
Inuit on a traditional qamutik (dog sled) in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada.
Native Hawaiian schoolchildren, circa 1900. Hawaiian Schoolchildren by Henry Wetherbee Henshaw modified.jpg
Native Hawaiian schoolchildren, circa 1900.

Indigenous peoples, also known as First peoples, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as Indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all Indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world. [1]

Contents

Since Indigenous peoples are often faced with threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being and their access to the resources on which their cultures depend, political rights have been set forth in international law by international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. [2] The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to guide member-state national policies to the collective rights of Indigenous peoples, such as culture, identity, language and access to employment, health, education and natural resources. Estimates put the total population of Indigenous peoples from 220 million to 350 million. [3]

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on 9 August each year.

Definitions

The adjective Indigenous was historically used to describe animals and plant origins. During the late twentieth century, the term Indigenous people began to be used to describe a legal category in Indigenous law created in international and national legislation; it refers to culturally distinct groups affected by colonization. [4] It is derived from the Latin word indigena, which is based on the root -genus, 'to be born from,' and the Old Latin prefix indu-, 'in'. [5] Notably, the origins of the term Indigenous is not related in any way to the origins of the term Indian, which until recently was commonly applied to Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Any given people, ethnic group or community may be described as Indigenous in reference to some particular region or location that they see as their traditional Indigenous land claim. [6] Other terms used to refer to Indigenous populations are aboriginal, original, autochthonous or first (as in Canada's First Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis)).

The use of the term peoples in association with the Indigenous is derived from the 19th century anthropological and ethnographic disciplines. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a people as "a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, which typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and often constitute a politically organized group". [7]

James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has defined Indigenous peoples as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest". [8] [9]

They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system. The International Day of the World's Indigenous People falls on 9 August 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.

National definitions

Ainu man of Hokkaido, Japan in traditional dress. AinuManStilflied.JPG
Ainu man of Hokkaidō, Japan in traditional dress.

Throughout history, different states designate the groups within their boundaries that are recognized as Indigenous peoples according to international or national legislation by different terms. Indigenous people also include people Indigenous based on their descent from populations that inhabited the country when non-Indigenous religions and cultures arrived—or at the establishment of present state boundaries—who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains.[ citation needed ]

The status of the Indigenous groups in the subjugated relationship can be characterized in most instances as an effectively marginalized or isolated in comparison to majority groups or the nation-state as a whole. Their ability to influence and participate in the external policies that may exercise jurisdiction over their traditional lands and practices is very frequently limited. This situation can persist even in the case where the Indigenous population outnumbers that of the other inhabitants of the region or state; the defining notion here is one of separation from decision and regulatory processes that have some, at least titular, influence over aspects of their community and land rights.[ citation needed ]

In a ground-breaking 1997 decision involving the Ainu people of Japan, the Japanese courts recognized their claim in law, stating that "If one minority group lived in an area prior to being ruled over by a majority group and preserved its distinct ethnic culture even after being ruled over by the majority group, while another came to live in an area ruled over by a majority after consenting to the majority rule, it must be recognized that it is only natural that the distinct ethnic culture of the former group requires greater consideration." [10]

In Russia, definition of "Indigenous peoples" is contested largely referring to a number of population (less than 50 000 people), and neglecting self-identification, origin from Indigenous populations who inhabited the country or region upon invasion, colonization or establishment of state frontiers, distinctive social, economic and cultural institutions. [11] [12] Thus, Indigenous people of Russia such as Sakha, Komi, Karelian and others are not considered as such due to the size of the population (more than 50 000 people), and consequently they "are not the subjects of the specific legal protections." [13]

The presence of external laws, claims and cultural mores either potentially or actually act to variously constrain the practices and observances of an Indigenous society. These constraints can be observed even when the Indigenous society is regulated largely by its own tradition and custom. They may be purposefully imposed, or arise as unintended consequence of trans-cultural interaction. They may have a measurable effect, even where countered by other external influences and actions deemed beneficial or that promote Indigenous rights and interests.[ citation needed ]

United Nations

In 1982 the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) accepted as a preliminary definition a formulation put forward by Mr. José R. Martínez-Cobo, Special Rapporteur on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations. This definition has some limitations, because the definition applies mainly to pre-colonial populations, and would likely exclude other isolated or marginal societies. [14]

Indigenous communities, peoples, and nations are those that, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.

The primary impetus in considering Indigenous identity comes from the post-colonial movements and considering the historical impacts on populations by the European imperialism. The first paragraph of the Introduction of a report published in 2009 by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues published a report, [15] states

For centuries, since the time of their colonization, conquest or occupation, Indigenous peoples have documented histories of resistance, interface or cooperation with states, thus demonstrating their conviction and determination to survive with their distinct sovereign identities. Indeed, Indigenous peoples were often recognized as sovereign peoples by states, as witnessed by the hundreds of treaties concluded between Indigenous peoples and the governments of the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others. [16]

In May 2016, the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) affirmed that Indigenous people (also termed aboriginal people, native people, or autochthonous people) are distinctive groups protected in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their linguistic and historical ties to a particular territory, prior to later settlement, development, and or occupation of a region. [17] The session affirms that, since Indigenous peoples are vulnerable to exploitation, marginalization, oppression, forced assimilation, and genocide by nation states formed from colonizing populations or by different, politically dominant ethnic groups, special protection of individuals and communities maintaining ways of life Indigenous to their regions are entitled to special protection.

History

Classical antiquity

Greek sources of the Classical period acknowledge the prior existence of Indigenous people(s), whom they referred to as "Pelasgians". These peoples inhabited lands surrounding the Aegean Sea before the subsequent migrations of the Hellenic ancestors claimed by these authors. The disposition and precise identity of this former group is elusive, and sources such as Homer, Hesiod and Herodotus give varying, partially mythological 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 "barbarians" by the historical Greeks).

Greco-Roman society flourished between 250 BCE and 480 CE 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 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. [18]

However, 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, and this expansion became a forerunner of what was to take the Americas, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific by storm in more recent times. Thus, the idea that expansionist societies may encounter peoples who possess cultural customs and racial appearances strikingly different from those of the colonizing power was not new to the Renaissance or the Enlightenment.

Alonso Fernandez de Lugo presenting the captured Guanche kings of Tenerife to Ferdinand and Isabella. AlonsoFernandezdeLugo2.JPG
Alonso Fernández de Lugo presenting the captured Guanche kings of Tenerife to Ferdinand and Isabella.

European expansion and colonialism

The rapid and extensive spread of the various European powers from the early 15th century onward had a profound impact upon many of the Indigenous cultures with whom they came into contact. The exploratory 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.

Encounters between explorers and Indigenous populations in the rest of the world often introduced new infectious diseases, which sometimes caused local epidemics of extraordinary virulence. For example, smallpox, measles, malaria, yellow fever, and others were unknown in pre-Columbian America and Australia.

The Canary Islands had an Indigenous population called the Guanches whose origin is still the subject of discussion among historians and linguists. [19]

Population and distribution

Members of an uncontacted tribe encountered in the Brazilian state of Acre in 2009. Indios Isolados 5.jpg
Members of an uncontacted tribe encountered in the Brazilian state of Acre in 2009.

Indigenous societies range from those who have been significantly exposed to the colonizing or expansionary activities of other societies (such as the Maya peoples 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).

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. The United Nations estimates that there are over 370 million Indigenous people living in over 70 countries worldwide. [20] This would equate to just fewer than 6% of the total world population. This includes at least 5000 distinct peoples [21] 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 of Indigenous groups is ongoing, and includes permanent loss of language, loss of lands, encroachment on traditional territories, and disruption in traditional ways of life due to contamination and pollution of waters and lands.

Environmental and economic benefits of having Indigenous peoples tend land

A WRI report mentions that “tenure-secure” Indigenous lands generates billions and sometimes trillions of dollars’ worth of benefits in the form of carbon sequestration, reduced pollution, clean water and more. It says that tenure-secure Indigenous lands have low deforestation rates, [22] [23] they help to reduce GHG emissions, control erosion and flooding by anchoring soil, and provide a suite of other local, regional and global “ecosystem services.” However, many of these communities find themselves on the front lines of the deforestation crisis, and their lives and livelihoods threatened. [24] [25] [26]

Indigenous peoples by region

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.

Africa

Starting fire by hand, San people in Botswana. BushmenSan.jpg
Starting fire by hand, San people in Botswana.

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 that comprise most modern, independent African states contain within them various peoples whose situation, cultures and pastoralist or hunter-gatherer 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.

Though the vast majority of African peoples are Indigenous in the sense that they originate from that continent, in practice, identity as an Indigenous people per the modern definition 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 implemented by governments, companies and surrounding dominant societies.

Given the extensive and complicated history of human migration 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 nomadic peoples such as the Tuareg of the Sahara and Sahel regions now inhabit areas where they arrived comparatively recently; their claim to Indigenous status (endorsed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights) is based on their marginalization as nomadic peoples in states and territories dominated by sedentary agricultural peoples.

Americas

Shaman from the Shuar people in the Ecuador Amazonian forest. Chaman amazonie 5 06.jpg
Shaman from the Shuar people in the Ecuador Amazonian forest.
Quechua woman and child in the Sacred Valley, Andes, Peru. Quechuawomanandchild.jpg
Quechua woman and child in the Sacred Valley, Andes, Peru.
A Maya family in the hamlet of Patzun, Guatemala, 1993. Cakchiquel family.JPG
A Maya family in the hamlet of Patzun, Guatemala, 1993.

Indigenous peoples of the American continent 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). Indigenous peoples who maintain, or seek to maintain, traditional ways of life are found from the high Arctic north to the southern extremities of Tierra del Fuego.

The impact of European colonization of the Americas on the Indigenous communities has been in general quite severe, with many authorities estimating ranges of significant population decline primarily due to disease but also violence. The extent of this impact is the subject of much continuing debate. Several peoples shortly thereafter became extinct, or very nearly so.

Al 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 they account for an estimated 56–70% of the total nation, and at least half of the population in Guatemala and the Andean and Amazonian nations of Peru. In English, Indigenous peoples are collectively referred to by different names that vary by region and include such ethnonyms as Native Americans, Amerindians, and American Indians. 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 (Native Communities), particularly among Amazonian societies like the Urarina [27] and Matsés. In Chile there are Indigenous tribes like the Mapuches in the Center-South and the Aymaras in the North; also the Rapa Nui Indigenous to Easter Island are a Polynesian tribe.

In Brazil, the term índio (Portuguese pronunciation:  [ˈĩdʒi.u] or ˈĩdʒju) is used by most of the population, the media, the Indigenous peoples themselves and event the government (FUNAI is acronym for the Fundação Nacional do Índio) (National Indio Foundation), although its Hispanic equivalent indio is widely not considered politically correct and falling into disuse.

Indigenous peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, [28] Inuit [29] and Métis. [30] The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada. [31] [32] According to the 2016 Census, there are around 1 670 000 Aboriginal people. [33] There are currently over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada with distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, and music. [34] [35] National Aboriginal Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginals to the history of Canada

The Inuit have achieved a degree of administrative autonomy with the creation in 1999 of the territories of Nunavik (in Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (in Northern Labrador) and Nunavut, which was until 1999 a part of the Northwest Territories. The autonomous Danish territory of Greenland 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 totaled 2,786,652 (constituting about 1.5% of 2003 U.S. 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 6,000,000 (constituting about 6.7% of 2005 Mexican census figures) identify as Indígenas (Spanish for natives or Indigenous peoples). In the southern states of Chiapas, Yucatán and Oaxaca 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).

A map of uncontacted tribes, around the start of the 21st century. Isolierte-Volker.png
A map of uncontacted tribes, around the start of the 21st century.

The Amerindians make up 0.4% of all Brazilian population, or about 700,000 people. [36] 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 reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil has now overtaken the island of New Guinea as the country having the largest number of uncontacted tribes. [37]

Asia

Yazidis, who are Indigenous to Northern Mesopotamia. Yezidis of Jabal.jpg
Yazidis, who are Indigenous to Northern Mesopotamia.
Assyrian people, who are Indigenous to Northern Iraq, are seen here in traditional costume and participating in a folk dance. Assyrianfolkcostume.png
Assyrian people, who are Indigenous to Northern Iraq, are seen here in traditional costume and participating in a folk dance.
Dayak man from Indonesia, Southeast Asia COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Studioportret van een Dajak in krijgskleding TMnr 60033041.jpg
Dayak man from Indonesia, Southeast Asia

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

Western Asia

The Yazidis are Indigenous to the Sinjar mountain range in northern Iraq.[ citation needed ] The Yazidis are ethnically Kurd but are a religious minority of the Kurdish people. [38] The Kurds, as a whole, are one of the Indigenous peoples of Mesopotamia (south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Syria, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and parts Armenia). [39] [40]

Another Indigenous peoples of Northern Iraq and the Levant are the Assyrians. [41] They claim descent from the ancient Neo-Assyrian Empire and Akkadians, and lived in what was Assyria, their original homeland. Their homeland is primarily occupied by the Kurdish autonomous region.

South Asia

The most substantial populations of Indigenous people are in India, which constitutionally recognizes a range of "Scheduled Tribes" within its borders. These various people number about 200 million. But these terms "Indigenous people" and "tribal people" are different. [42]

There are also Indigenous people residing in the hills of Northern, North-eastern and Southern India like the Shina, Kalasha, Khowar, Burusho, Balti, Wakhi, Domaki, Nuristani, Kohistani, Bakkarwal, Meenas, Ladakhi, Lepcha, Bhutia (of Sikkim), Naga (of Nagaland), Indigenous Assamese communities, Mizo (of Mizoram), Tripuri (Tripura), Adi and Nyishi (Arunachal Pradesh), Kodava (of Kodagu), Toda, Kurumba, Kota (of the Nilgiris), Irulas and others.

India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean are also home to several Indigenous groups such as the Andamanese of Strait Island, the Jarawas of Middle Andaman and South Andaman Islands, the Onge of Little Anadaman Island and the uncontacted Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island. They are registered and protected by the Indian government.

In Sri Lanka, the Indigenous Veddah people constitute a small minority of the population today.

North Asia

The Russians invaded Siberia and conquered the Indigenous people in the 17th-18th centuries.

Nivkh people are an ethnic group Indigenous to Sakhalin, having a few speakers of the Nivkh language, but their fisher culture has been endangered due to the development of oil field of Sakhalin from 1990's. [43]

The Russian government recognizes only 40 ethnic groups as Indigenous peoples even though there are other 30 groups to be counted as such. The reason of nonrecognition is the size of the population and relatively late advent to their current regions, thus Indigenous peoples in Russia should be numbered less than 50 000 people [44] [45] [46]

Eastern Asia

Ainu people are an ethnic group Indigenous to Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin. As Japanese settlement expanded, the Ainu were pushed northward and fought against the Japanese in Shakushain's Revolt and Menashi-Kunashir Rebellion, until by the Meiji period they were confined by the government to a small area in Hokkaidō, in a manner similar to the placing of Native Americans on reservations. [47]

The Dzungar Oirats are Indigenous to the Dzungaria in Northern Xinjiang.

The Pamiris are Indigenous to the Tashkurgan in Xinjiang.

The Tibetans are Indigenous to Tibet.

The Ryukyuan people are Indigenous to the Ryukyu Islands.

The languages of Taiwanese aborigines have significance in historical linguistics, since in all likelihood Taiwan was the place of origin of the entire Austronesian language family, which spread across Oceania. [48] [49] [50]

Southeast Asia

A young Andamanese Negrito mother with her baby, Andaman Islands. A young Onge mother with her baby.jpg
A young Andamanese Negrito mother with her baby, Andaman Islands.

The Malay Singaporeans are the Indigenous people of Singapore, inhabiting it since the Austronesian migration. They have established Kingdom of Singapura back in the 13th century. The name Singapore itself comes from the Malay word Singapura (Singa=Lion, Pura=City) which means the Lion City.

The Cham are the Indigenous people of the former state of Champa which was conquered by Vietnam in the Cham–Vietnamese wars during Nam tiến. The Cham in Vietnam are only recognized as a minority, and not as an Indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being Indigenous to the region.

The Degar (Montagnards) are Indigenous to Central Highlands (Vietnam) and were conquered by the Vietnamese in the Nam tiến.

The Khmer Krom are the Indigenous people of the Mekong Delta and Saigon which were acquired by Vietnam from Cambodian King Chey Chettha II in exchange for a Vietnamese princess.

In Indonesia, there are 50 to 70 million people who classify as Indigenous peoples. [51] However, the Indonesian government does not recognize the existence of Indigenous peoples, classifying every Native Indonesian ethnic group as "Indigenous" despite the clear cultural distinctions of certain groups. [52] This problem is shared by many other countries in the ASEAN region.

In the Philippines, there are 135 ethno-linguistic groups, majority of which are considered as Indigenous peoples by mainstream Indigenous ethnic groups in the country. The Indigenous people of Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley in the Philippines are the Igorot people. The Indigenous peoples of Mindanao are the Lumad peoples and the Moro (Tausug, Maguindanao Maranao and others) who also live in the Sulu archipelago. There are also others sets of Indigenous peoples in Palawan, Mindoro, Visayas, and the rest central and south Luzon. The country has one of the largest Indigenous peoples population in the world.

In Myanmar Indigenous peoples include the Shan, the Karen, the Rakhine, the Karenni, the Chin, the Kachin and the Mon. However, there are more ethnic groups that are considered Indigenous, for example, the Akha, the Lisu, the Lahu or the Mru, among others[ citation needed ].

Europe

The Circassians are one of the oldest nations in the European North Caucasus. Circassian children.jpg
The Circassians are one of the oldest nations in the European North Caucasus.

In Europe, the majority of ethnic groups are indigenous to the region in the sense of having occupied it for several centuries or millennia. Present-day indigenous populations as recognized by the UN definition, however, are relatively few, and mainly confined to its north and far east. Notable minority Indigenous populations in Europe which are recognized include the Sami people of northern Fennoscandia, the Nenets, Samoyedic and Komi peoples of northern Russia, and the Circassians of southern Russia and the North Caucasus. [53]

Oceania

Aboriginal Australian dancers. 1981 event Australian aboriginals.jpg
Aboriginal Australian dancers.
Huli man from the Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea. New Guinea has more than 1,000 Indigenous languages. Huli wigman.jpg
Huli man from the Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea. New Guinea has more than 1,000 Indigenous languages.

In Australia the Indigenous populations are the Aboriginal Australians, within which are many different nations and tribes, and the Torres Strait Islanders. These groups are often spoken of as Indigenous Australians.

Many of the present-day Pacific Island nations in the Oceania region were originally populated by Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian 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 of Guam and the Northern Marianas, and the Marshallese of the Marshall Islands.

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 in Micronesia. [54]

In most parts of Oceania, Indigenous peoples outnumber the descendants of colonists. Exceptions include Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. According to the 2013 census, New Zealand Maori make up 14.9% of the population of New Zealand, with less than half (46.5%) of all Maori residents identifying solely as Maori. The Maori are Indigenous to Polynesia and settled New Zealand relatively recently, the migrations were thought to have occurred in the 13th century CE. In New Zealand pre-contact Maori 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 Maori tribal leaders signed a treaty with the British, the Treaty of Waitangi, which formed the modern geo-political entity that is New Zealand.

A majority of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) population is Indigenous, with more than 700 different tribal groups recognized out of a total population of 8 million. [55] The country's Constitution and key statutes identify traditional or custom-based practices and land tenure, and explicitly set out to promote the viability of these traditional societies within the modern state. However, conflicts and disputes concerning land use and resource rights continue between Indigenous groups, the government, and corporate entities.

Indigenous rights and other issues

The New Zealand delegation, including Maori members, endorses the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010. NZ delegation UN Forum on Indigenous Issues.jpg
The New Zealand delegation, including Māori members, endorses the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010.

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. [56] These issues include cultural and linguistic preservation, land rights, ownership and exploitation of natural resources, political determination and autonomy, environmental degradation and incursion, poverty, health, and discrimination.

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 involves investigation into the ramifications of what is termed first contact, 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.

Wherever Indigenous cultural identity is asserted, common societal issues and concerns arise from the Indigenous status. These concerns are often not unique to 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 and Komi peoples (two northern Indigenous peoples of Russia), who now control their own autonomous republics within the Russian state, and the Canadian Inuit, who form a majority of the territory of Nunavut (created in 1999). Despite the control of their territories, many Sakha people have lost their lands as a result of the Russian Homestead Act, which allows any Russian citizen to own any land in the Far Eastern region of Russia. In Australia, a landmark case, Mabo v Queensland (No 2), [57] saw the High Court of Australia reject the idea of terra nullius. This rejection ended up recognizing that there was a pre-existing system of law practised by the Meriam people.

It is also sometimes argued that it is important for the human species as a whole to preserve a wide range of cultural diversity as possible, and that the protection of Indigenous cultures is vital to this enterprise.

Human rights violations

The Bangladesh Government has stated that there are "no Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh." [58] This has angered the Indigenous Peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, collectively known as the Jumma. [59] Experts have protested against this move of the Bangladesh Government and have questioned the Government's definition of the term "Indigenous Peoples." [60] [61] This move by the Bangladesh Government is seen by the Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh as another step by the Government to further erode their already limited rights. [62]

Both Hindu and Chams have experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese state confiscating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several incidents occurred in Thành Tín and Phươc Nhơn villages where Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric generator, and also raped Cham girls. [63] Cham in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalised, with ethnic Vietnamese settling on land previously owned by Cham people with state support. [64]

The Indonesian government has outright denied the existence of Indigenous peoples within the countries' borders. In 2012, Indonesia stated that ‘The Government of Indonesia supports the promotion and protection of Indigenous people worldwide ... Indonesia, however, does not recognize the application of the Indigenous peoples concept ... in the country’. [65] Along with the brutal treatment of the country's Papuan people (a conservative estimate places the violent deaths at 100,000 people in West New Guinea since Indonesian occupation in 1963, see Papua Conflict) has led to Survival International condemning Indonesia for treating its Indigenous peoples as the worst in the world. [65]

The Vietnamese viewed and dealt with the Indigenous Montagnards from the Central Highlands as "savages," which caused a Montagnard uprising against the Vietnamese. [66] The Vietnamese were originally centered around the Red River Delta but engaged in conquest and seized new lands such as Champa, the Mekong Delta (from Cambodia) and the Central Highlands during Nam Tien. While the Vietnamese received strong Chinese influence in their culture and civilization and were Sinicized, and the Cambodians and Laotians were Indianized, the Montagnards in the Central Highlands maintained their own Indigenous culture without adopting external culture and were the true Indigenous of the region. To hinder encroachment on the Central Highlands by Vietnamese nationalists, the term Pays Montagnard du Sud-Indochinois (PMSI) emerged for the Central Highlands along with the Indigenous being addressed by the name Montagnard. [67] The tremendous scale of Vietnamese Kinh colonists flooding into the Central Highlands has significantly altered the demographics of the region. [68] The anti-ethnic minority discriminatory policies by the Vietnamese, environmental degradation, deprivation of lands from the Indigenous people, and settlement of Indigenous lands by an overwhelming number of Vietnamese settlers led to massive protests and demonstrations by the Central Highland's Indigenous ethnic minorities against the Vietnamese in January–February 2001. This event gave a tremendous blow to the claim often published by the Vietnamese government that in Vietnam “There has been no ethnic confrontation, no religious war, no ethnic conflict. And no elimination of one culture by another.” [69]

Health issues

In December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly 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, 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. [70]

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; [71] higher prevalence of poor sanitation and lack of safe water among Twa households in Rwanda; [72] a greater prevalence of childbirths without prenatal care among ethnic minorities in Vietnam; [73] suicide rates among Inuit youth in Canada are eleven times higher than the national average; [74] infant mortality rates are higher for Indigenous peoples everywhere. [75]

Racism and discrimination

"Savages of Mokka and Their House in Formosa", pre-1945, Taiwan under Japanese rule Mokka and their house.jpg
"Savages of Mokka and Their House in Formosa", pre-1945, Taiwan under Japanese rule

Indigenous peoples have frequently been subjected to various forms of racism and discrimination. Indigenous peoples have been denoted primitives, savages [76] or uncivilized. These terms were common during the heights of European colonial expansion, but still continue in certain societies in modern times. [77]

During the 17th century, Indigenous peoples were commonly labeled "uncivilized." Some philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes considered Indigenous people to be merely "savages," while others are purported to have considered them to be "noble savages". Those who were close to the Hobbesian view tended to believe themselves to have a duty to "civilize" and "modernize" the Indigenous. Although anthropologists, especially from Europe, used to apply these terms to all tribal cultures, it has fallen into disfavor as demeaning and is, according to many anthropologists, not only inaccurate, but dangerous.

Survival International runs a campaign to stamp out media portrayal of Indigenous peoples as "primitive" or "savages." [78] Friends of Peoples Close to Nature 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. [79]

After World War I, however, many Europeans came to doubt the morality of the means used to "civilize" peoples. 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, 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.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Chams ethnic group in Southeast Asia

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Indigenous peoples in Canada North American indigenous peoples within the boundaries of present-day Canada

Indigenous Canadians, also known as Aboriginal Canadians, are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis, or by the initialism FNIM, Although "Indian" is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and some consider them to be pejorative. Similarly, "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982, though in some circles that word is also falling into disfavour.

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Utsul

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The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is an Aboriginal land claim settlement, approved in 1975 by the Cree and Inuit of northern Quebec, and later slightly modified in 1978 by the Northeastern Quebec Agreement, through which Quebec's Naskapi First Nation joined the treaty. The agreement covers economic development and property issues in northern Quebec, as well as establishing a number of cultural, social and governmental institutions for Indigenous people who are members of the communities involved in the treaties.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

The Native American name controversy is an ongoing discussion about the changing terminology used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas to describe themselves, as well as how they prefer to be referred to by others. Preferred terms vary primarily by region and age. As indigenous people and communities are diverse, there is no consensus on naming, aside from the fact that most people prefer to be referred to by their specific nation.

Jarai people or Jarais are an ethnic group in Vietnam's Central Highlands, as well as in the Cambodian northeast Province of Ratanakiri. During the Vietnam War, many Jarai persons, as well as members of other Montagnard groups, were involved by the US military in war affairs and thus resettled with their families in the United States, particularly in the state of North Carolina.

Religion in Vietnam

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Human rights in Vietnam

Human rights in Vietnam have long been a matter of much controversy between the Government of Vietnam and some international human rights organizations and Western governments, particularly that of the United States. Under the current constitution, the Communist Party of Vietnam is the only one allowed to rule, the operation of all other political parties being outlawed. Other human rights issues concern freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

Ethnic groups in Cambodia

The largest of the ethnic groups in Cambodia are the Khmer, who comprise approximately 90% of the total population and primarily inhabit the lowland Mekong subregion and the central plains. The Khmer historically have lived near the lower Mekong River in a contiguous arc that runs from the southern Khorat Plateau where modern-day Thailand, Laos and Cambodia meet in the northeast, stretching southwest through the lands surrounding Tonle Sap lake to the Cardamom Mountains, then continues back southeast to the mouth of the Mekong River in southeastern Vietnam.

Rama people indigenous people in Nicaragua

The Rama are an indigenous people living on the eastern coast of Nicaragua. Since the start of European colonization, the Rama population has declined as a result of disease, conflict, and loss of territory. In recent years, however, the Rama population has increased to around 2,000 individuals. A majority of the population lives on the island of Rama Cay, which is located in the Bluefields Lagoon. Additional small Rama communities are dispersed on the mainland from Bluefields to Greytown. The Rama are one of three main indigenous groups on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

Indigenous rights Legal, social, or ethical principles that pertain to Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous rights are those rights that exist in recognition of the specific condition of the indigenous peoples. This includes not only the most basic human rights of physical survival and integrity, but also the preservation of their land, language, religion, and other elements of cultural heritage that are a part of their existence as a people. This can be used as an expression for advocacy of social organizations or form a part of the national law in establishing the relation between a government and the right of self-determination among the indigenous people living within the borders of Canada, or in international law as a protection against violation of indigenous rights by actions of governments or groups of private interests.

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to Indigenous peoples in Canada, comprising the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism which seeks to replace the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers. As with all forms of colonialism, it is based on exogenous domination, typically organized or supported by an imperial authority. Settler colonialism is enacted by a variety of means ranging from violent depopulation of the previous inhabitants, to more subtle, legal means such as assimilation or recognition of indigenous identity within a colonial framework. Although "the settler-colonial logic of elimination has manifested as genocidal", it is "not invariably" so.

Ancestral domain or ancestral lands refers to the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The term differs from indigenous land rights, Aboriginal title or Native Title by directly indicating relationship to land based on ancestry, while domain indicates relationships beyond material lands and territories, including spiritual and cultural aspects that may not be acknowledged in land titles and legal doctrine about trading ownership.

Indigenous or Aboriginal self-government refers to proposals to give governments representing the Indigenous peoples in Canada greater powers of government. These proposals range from giving Aboriginal governments powers similar to that of local governments in Canada to demands that Indigenous governments be recognized as sovereign, and capable of "nation-to-nation" negotiations as legal equals to the Crown, as well as many other variations.

Racism in Vietnam has been mainly directed by the majority and dominant ethnic Vietnamese Kinh against ethnic minorities such as Degars (Montagnards), Chams and the Khmer Krom.

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Further reading

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2003). "Report of the African Commission's Working Group of Experts on Indigenous Populations/Communities" (PDF). ACHPR & IWGIA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2007.
Baviskar, Amita (2007). "Indian Indigeneitites: Adivasi Engagements with Hindu NAtionalism in India". In Marisol de la Cadena & Orin Starn (ed.). Indigenous Experience today. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.
Bodley, John H. (2008). Victims of Progress (5th. ed.). Plymouth, England: AltaMira Press. ISBN   978-0-7591-1148-6.
de la Cadena, Marisol; Orin Starn, eds. (2007). Indigenous Experience Today. Oxford: Berg Publishers, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.
Clifford, James (2007). "Varieties of Indigenous Experience: Diasporas, Homelands, Sovereignties". In Marisol de la Cadena & Orin Starn (ed.). Indigenous Experience today. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.
Coates, Ken S. (2004). A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN   978-0-333-92150-0.
Farah, Paolo D.; Tremolada Riccardo (2014). "Intellectual Property Rights, Human Rights and Intangible Cultural Heritage". Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Issue 2, Part I, Giuffre pp. 21–47. ISSN   0035-614X. SSRN   2472388 .
Farah, Paolo D.; Tremolada Riccardo (2014). "Desirability of Commodification of Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Unsatisfying Role of IPRs". TRANSNATIONAL DISPUTE MANAGEMENT, Special Issues "The New Frontiers of Cultural Law: Intangible Heritage Disputes", Volume 11, Issue 2. ISSN   1875-4120. SSRN   2472339 .
Henriksen, John B. (2001). "Implementation of the Right of Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples" (PDF). Indigenous Affairs. 3/2001 (PDF ed.). Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. pp. 6–21. ISSN   1024-3283. OCLC   30685615. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2007.
Hughes, Lotte (2003). The no-nonsense guide to indigenous peoples. Verso. ISBN   978-1-85984-438-0.
Howard, Bradley Reed (2003). Indigenous Peoples and the State: The struggle for Native Rights. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN   978-0-87580-290-9.
Johansen. Bruce E. (2003). Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues: An Encyclopedia . Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-32398-0.
Martinez Cobo, J. (198). "United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations". Study of the Problem of Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations. UN Commission on Human Rights.[ permanent dead link ]
Maybury-Lewis, David (1997). Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups and the State. Needham Heights, Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN   978-0-205-19816-0.
Merlan, Francesca (2007). "Indigeneity as Relational Identity: The Construction of Australian Land Rights". In Marisol de la Cadena & Orin Starn (ed.). Indigenous Experience today. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.
Pratt, Mary Louise (2007). "Afterword: Indigeneity Today". In Marisol de la Cadena & Orin Starn (ed.). Indigenous Experience today. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.
Tsing, Anna (2007). "Indigenous Voice". In Marisol de la Cadena & Orin Starn (ed.). Indigenous Experience today. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. ISBN   978-1-84520-519-5.

Institutions