Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples, native peoples, or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, 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 such characteristics. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given locale/region 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.
Since indigenous peoples are often faced with threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being and their access to resources on which their cultures depend, 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 and the World Bank. The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to guide member-state national policies to collective rights of indigenous people, 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.
The adjective indigenous is derived from the Latin word indigena, which is based on the root gen- ‘to be born’ with an archaic form of the prefix in ‘in’. 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 tribal land claim. Other terms used to refer to indigenous populations are aboriginal, native, original, or first (as in Canada’s First Nations).
The use of the term peoples in association with the indigenous is derived from the 19th century anthropological and ethnographic disciplines that Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 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”
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.
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“.
The status of the indigenous groups in the subjugated relationship can be characterized in most instances as an effectively marginalized, isolated or minimally participative one, 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.
The Inuit have achieved a degree of administrative autonomy with the creation in 1999 of the territories of Nunavik (in Northern Québec), Nunatsiavut (in Northern Labrador) and Nunavut, which was until 1999 a part of the Northwest Territories. The self-ruling 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 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.
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 of the 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). In Australia, a landmark case, Mabo v Queensland (No 2), 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 practiced 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.
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 and lack of safe water among Twa households in Rwanda; a greater prevalence of childbirths without prenatal care among ethnic minorities in Vietnam; suicide rates among Inuit youth in Canada are eleven times higher than the national average; infant mortality rates are higher for indigenous peoples everywhere.
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”. 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’. 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.
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.
a new story humanity (doc)
Aaron Paquette (@aaronpaquette) tweeted at 7:20 PM – 30 Dec 2016 :
There are over 600 Indigenous communities in Canada, all with their own priorities and perspectives. Why not get to know them? (http://twitter.com/aaronpaquette/status/815019855623680000?s=17)
Rebekah Ingram (@geolinguistics) tweeted at 7:16 AM – 31 Dec 2016 :
Thread regarding “Who speaks for Indigenous Peoples?” https://t.co/BWQRgUohtG (http://twitter.com/geolinguistics/status/815199857489022977?s=17)
Jay (@thejaymo) tweeted at 7:28 AM – 31 Dec 2016 :
Land Cultures: Aboriginal economies and permaculture futures Land Cultures tells the story of the day… https://t.co/Xbno2hqsI1 (http://twitter.com/thejaymo/status/815203041892769792?s=17)
9 min – here’s a grass.. no one knows of.. an absence of scholarship
12 min – thomas: remarked on how 1000 diff houses and everyone diff.. the bounty of food growing on food/walls.. aboriginals.. hunters gatherers.. kept finding villages..
iwan baan ness..
16 min – there’s nothing wrong with being a hunterer/gatherer.. but the truth is.. we were not mere h & g’s
21 min – you don’t have to be.. to realize that rivers should have water in them.. we owe it to the land to be a bit more gentle.. and aboriginal people had the tools for that.. we’ve still got them.. and they can still be applied..
37 min – everywhere in the world.. permaculture acknowledges indigenous and traditional people as the big source for what we need to do in the future.. *but not in the way that we need to exactly copy it in exactly the same place because the world has changed.. those soils are diff.. **all the cultures of the planet have been scrambled.. we are dealing w/1000 broken jigsaw puzzles.. of which we need to take pieces that we think might be useful.. and ***head over the horizon to a future we don’t know..
*chaos ness from Jim‘s doc..
**the need to listen deeply to every voice.. now.. to now..
***begs we leap.. (for (blank)’s sake…) ..to a nother way.. where we can listen to all the voices…
38 min – where we have to again.. become indigenous
39 min – we all need to become indigenous.. and help with the rediscovering of what’s going on…
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Tragic! Brazil dynamited an indigenous sacred site, the equivalent of Christian “Heaven,” to make way for Teles Pires dam; desecration is devastating to Munduruku culture.
In 2013 the companies involved blew up Sete Quedas, and in so doing also destroyed — in the cosmology of the region’s indigenous people — the equivalent of the Christian “Heaven”, the sacred sanctuary inhabited by spirits after death. Known in as Paribixexe, Sete Quedas is a sacred site for all the Munduruku.
In all, today, (article published in 2017)more than 13,000 Munduruku Indians live in 112 villages, mainly along the upper reaches of the Tapajós River and its tributaries, including the Teles Pires River
Suspension of Security allows any judicial decision, even when based on sound legal principles, to be reversed in a higher court without further legal argument, using a trump card that simply invokes “national security”, “public order” or the “national economy”.
Worse, Iphan had decided that, as the urns and other material were discovered outside the boundary of the indigenous reserve, they were the property of the government and should be sent to a museum.
The elder Eurico Krixi Munduruku finds it painful to describe what this sacrilege means for the people: “Those urns should never have been touched. And it’s not the white man who will pay for this. It is us, the living Munduruku, who will have to pay, in the form of accidents, in the form of death…. Our ancestors left them there for us to protect. It was our duty and we have failed. And now we, the Munduruku, will have to pay the price.”
The harm done to the Munduruku psyche by these desecrations hit home in the aftermath of a 2012 federal police operation known as Operação Eldorado, during which an Indian was killed. Krixi Biwun, the sister of the dead man, told us of her brother’s restless spirit: “He went to Sete Quedas because, when people die, that is where our ancestors take them so they can live there. But now Sete Quedas is destroyed and he is suffering.”
“The ethnocide continues, in the way people look at us, the way they want us to be like them, subjugating our organizations, the way they tell us that our religion isn’t worth anything, that theirs is what matters, the way they tell us our behavior is wrong. They are obliterating the identity of the Indian as a human being.”
the way they want us to be like them.. they obliterate indigenous identities.. destroy us as human beings..
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This absorbs so much energy, it causes so much pain in our community, to have to re-argue for our value as human beings, on our own land? In a foreign language as I do to you now, one that was imposed on us? Please. What are we talking about in 2017.
Don’t mistake my emotion here, or my civility anywhere, as weakness. This is our strength, this is me being in touch with my ancestors and feeling them sitting beside me.
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Throughout 2017, the NFB is offering the films in its exceptional collection of 250+ Indigenous-made works to all Canadians—as FREE public screenings! These are the stories of our land, told by First Nations, Métis and Inuit filmmakers from every region of the country. Powerful, political, and profound, these films will initiate and inspire conversations on identity, family, community, and nationhood.
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Why Canada 150 is the beginning of Indigenous reoccupation.