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Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
s who are related to the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region. The term ''indigenous'' was first, in its modern context, used by Europeans, who used it to differentiate the
indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the before the arrival of the in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Although some of th ...
from the
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...

African
and
European European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...

European
new inhabitants. It may have first been used in this context by
Sir Thomas Browne Sir Thomas Browne (; 19 October 1605 – 19 October 1682) was an English polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
in 1646, who stated "and although in many parts thereof there be at present swarms of ''Negroes'' serving under the ''Spaniard'', yet were they all transported from ''Africa'', since the discovery of ''Columbus''; and are not indigenous or proper natives of ''America''." Peoples 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 Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle involving l ...
) or exhibit a
nomadic A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

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 except Antarctica. It is estimated that there are approximately five thousand indigenous
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
s throughout the world. Indigenous peoples' homelands have historically been colonised by larger ethnic groups, who justified colonization with beliefs of racial and religious superiority, land use or economic opportunity. Thousands of indigenous nations throughout the world are currently living in
countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

countries
where they are not a majority ethnic group. Indigenous peoples continue to face threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being, languages, ways of knowing, and access to the resources on which their cultures depend.
Indigenous rights Indigenous rights are those rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according ...
have been set forth in international law by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
, the
International Labour Organization The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the fir ...
, and the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
. In 2007, the UN issued a
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP or DOTROIP) is a legally non-binding resolution passed by the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peac ...
(UNDRIP) to guide member-state national policies to the collective rights of indigenous peoples, including culture, identity, language and access to employment, health, and natural resources. Estimates of the total global population of indigenous peoples usually range from 250 million to 600 million. This is because official designations and terminology on who is considered indigenous vary between
countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

countries
. In
settler state Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the proces ...
s colonized by Europeans, such as in
the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

the Americas
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, indigenous status is generally unproblematically applied to groups descended from peoples who lived there prior to European settlement. In
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
and Africa, where the majority of Indigenous peoples live, Indigenous population figures are less clear and may fluctuate dramatically as states tend to underreport the population of indigenous peoples or define them by different terminology.


Etymology

''Indigenous'' is derived from the Latin word , meaning "sprung from the land, native". The Latin ''indigena'' is based on the
Old Latin Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin ( la, prīsca Latīnitās, lit=the Latinity of the ancients) was the in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of . According to most current theories, it is descended from a common ; ...
''indu'' "in, within" + ''gignere'' "to beget, produce". ''Indu'' is an extended form of the
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
''en'' or "in". The origins of the term ''indigenous'' are not related in any way to the origins of the term ''Indian'', which, until recently, was commonly applied to
indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the before the arrival of the in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Although some of th ...
. ''Autochthonous'' originates from the Greek αὐτός autós meaning self/own, and χθών chthon meaning Earth. The term is based in the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Some European languages of ...
root ''dhghem-'' (earth). The earliest documented use of this term was in 1804.


Definitions

As a reference to a group of people, the term ''indigenous'' first came into use by Europeans who used it to differentiate the
Indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the before the arrival of the in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Although some of th ...
from
enslaved Enslaved may refer to: * Slavery, the socio-economic condition of being owned and worked by and for someone else * Enslaved (band), a progressive black metal band from Haugesund, Norway * "Enslaved", a song by Mötley Crüe on their ''Greatest Hits ...
Africans The population of Africa has population growth, grown rapidly over the past century and consequently shows a large youth bulge, further reinforced by a low life expectancy of below 50 years in some African countries. Total population as of 20 ...
. It may have first been used in this context by
Sir Thomas Browne Sir Thomas Browne (; 19 October 1605 – 19 October 1682) was an English polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
. In Chapter 10 of ''
Pseudodoxia Epidemica ''Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Enquiries into very many received tenents and commonly presumed truths'', also known simply as ''Pseudodoxia Epidemica'' or ''Vulgar Errors'', is a work by Thomas Browne Sir Thomas Browne (; 19 October 1605 &ndash ...
'' (1646) entitled "Of the Blackness of Negroes", Browne wrote "and although in many parts thereof there be at present swarms of ''Negroes'' serving under the ''Spaniard'', yet were they all transported from ''Africa'', since the discovery of ''Columbus''; and are not indigenous or proper natives of ''America''." In the 1970s, the term was used as a way of linking the experiences, issues, and struggles of groups of colonized people across international borders. At this time 'indigenous people(s)' also began to be used to describe a legal category in Indigenous law created in international and national legislation. The use of the 's' in 'peoples' recognizes that there are real differences between different Indigenous peoples. James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 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".


National definitions

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. 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 Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
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 Land law is the form of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment ...
. 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.


United Nations

The first meeting of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
Working Group on Indigenous PopulationsThe Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) was a subsidiary body within the structure of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international secur ...
(WGIP) was on 9 August 1982 and this date is now celebrated as the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. In 1982 the group accepted a preliminary definition by Mr. José R. Martínez-Cobo, Special Rapporteur on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations:
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 considering the historical impacts of European colonialism. A 2009 United Nations report published by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues stated:
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. And yet as Indigenous populations dwindled, and the settler populations grew ever more dominant, states became less and less inclined to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples themselves, at the same time, continued to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their distinct identity as sovereign peoples.State of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Secretariat of Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN, 2009
. pg. 1-2.
The
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unit ...
defines Indigenous populations as follows: "communities that live within, or are attached to, geographically distinct traditional habitats or ancestral territories, and who identify themselves as being part of a distinct cultural group, descended from groups present in the area before modern states were created and current borders defined. They generally maintain cultural and social identities, and social, economic, cultural and political institutions, separate from the mainstream or dominant society or culture."


History


Classical antiquity

Greek sources of the
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
period acknowledge indigenous people whom they referred to as "
Pelasgians The name Pelasgians ( grc, Πελασγοί, ''Pelasgoí'', singular: Πελασγός, ''Pelasgós'') was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the ancestors of the Greeks, or to all the inhabitants of Greece before the emergence or ...

Pelasgians
". These people were seen by ancient writers either as the ancestors of the
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
, or as an earlier group of people who inhabited
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
before the Greeks. The disposition and precise identity of this former group is elusive, and sources such as
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
,
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēr ...
and
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
give varying, partially mythological accounts.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
in his book, ''Roman Antiquities'', gives a synoptic interpretation of the Pelasgians based on the sources available to him then, concluding that Pelasgians were Greek.Dionysius of Halicarnassus. ''Roman Antiquities''
1.17
Greco-Roman The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the ), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were directly and ...
society flourished between 330 BCE and 640 CE and commanded successive waves of conquests that gripped more than half of the known world at the time. But because already existent populations within other parts of Europe at the time of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ...
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.


The Catholic Church and the Doctrine of Discovery

The
Doctrine of Discovery The discovery doctrine, also called doctrine of discovery, is a concept of public international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in rel ...
is a legal and religious concept tied to the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
which rationalized and 'legalized' colonization and the conquering of Indigenous peoples in the eyes of Christianized Europeans. The roots of the Doctrine go back as far as the fifth century popes and leaders in the church who had ambitions of forming a global Christian commonwealth. The
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
(1096-1271) were based on this ambition of a
holy war A religious war or holy war ( la, bellum sacrum) is a war primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. In the modern period, debates are common over the extent to which religious, War#Economic, economic, or ethnic conflict, ethnic ...
against who the church saw as ''infidels''.
Pope Innocent IV Pope Innocent IV ( la, Innocentius IV; – 7 December 1254), born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 June 1243 to his death in 1254. Fieschi was born in Genoa and studied at the universities ...

Pope Innocent IV
's writings from 1240 were particularly influential. He argued that Christians were justified in invading and acquiring infidel's lands because it was the church's duty to control the spiritual health of all humans on Earth. The Doctrine developed further in the 15th century after the conflict between the
Teutonic Knights The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: la, Ordo domus Sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum; german: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly known ...
and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
to control '
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin, Latin language recognized as a Literary language, literary standard language, standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. It was used from 75 BC ...
'
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
. At the
Council of Constance The Council of Constance was a 15th-century ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matte ...
(1414), the Knights argued that their claims were "authorized by papal proclamations dating from the time of the Crusades allowed the outright confiscation of the property and sovereign rights of heathens." The council disagreed, stating that non-Christians had claims to rights of sovereignty and property under European
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
. However, the council upheld that conquests could 'legally' occur if non-Christians refused to comply with
Christianization Christianization ( or Christianisation) was the conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity Late antiquity is a used by historians to describe the time of transition from to the in and adjacent areas bordering th ...
and European natural law. This effectively meant that peoples who were not considered 'civilized' by European standards or otherwise refused to assimilate under Christian authority were subject to war and forced assimilation: "Christians simply refused to recognize the right of non-Christians to remain free of Christian dominion." Christian Europeans had already begun invading and colonizing lands outside of Europe before the Council of Constance, demonstrating how the Doctrine was applied to non-Christian Indigenous peoples outside Europe. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Indigenous peoples of what are now referred to as the Canary Islands, known as
Guanches The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. A ...
(who had lived on the islands since the BCE era) became the subject of colonizers' attention. The Guanches had remained undisturbed and relatively 'forgotten' by Europeans until
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
began surveying the island for potential settlement in 1341. In 1344, a
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
was issued which assigned the islands to , a kingdom in Spain. In 1402, the Spanish began efforts to invade and colonize the islands. By 1436, a new papal edict was issued by
Pope Eugenius IV Pope Eugene IV ( la, Eugenius IV; 1383 – 23 February 1447), born Gabriele Condulmer, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number o ...
known as ''
Romanus Pontifex Romanus (Latin for "Roman"), hellenized as Romanos (Ῥωμανός) was a Roman cognomen and may refer to: People * Adrianus Romanus, Flemish mathematician (1561–1615) * Aquila Romanus, Latin grammarian * Giles of Rome, Aegidius Romanus, mediev ...
'' which authorized Portugal to convert the Indigenous peoples to Christianity and control the islands on behalf of the pope. The Guanches resisted European invasion until the surrender of the Guanche kings of
Tenerife Tenerife (; ; formerly spelled ''Teneriffe'') is the largest and most populous island of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ) ...

Tenerife
to Spain in 1496. The invaders brought destruction and diseases to the Guanche people, whose identity and culture disappeared as a result. As Portugal expanded southward into North Africa in the 15th century, new edicts were added by subsequent popes which extended Portuguese authority over Indigenous peoples. In 1455,
Pope Nicholas V Pope Nicholas V ( la, Nicholaus V; 13 November 1397 – 24 March 1455), born Tommaso Parentucelli, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomination ...

Pope Nicholas V
re-issued the ''Romanus Pontifex'' with more direct language, authorizing Portugal "to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all
Saracen Saracens () were primarily , but also , or other Muslims as referred to by Christian writers in Europe during the . The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the , Greek and Latin writings used the term to refer to ...
s and pagans" as well as allowing non-Christians to be placed in
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
and have their property stolen. As stated by Robert J. Miller, Jacinta Ruru,
Larissa Behrendt Larissa Yasmin Behrendt (born 1969) is a legal academic, writer, filmmaker and Indigenous rights advocate. she is a Professor of Law and Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research ...
, and Tracey Lindberg, the doctrine developed over time "to justify the domination of non-Christian, non-European peoples and the confiscations of their lands and rights." Because Portugal was granted 'permissions' by the papacy to expand in Africa, Spain was urged to move westward across the , searching to convert and conquer Indigenous peoples in what they would understand as the '
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
'. This division of the world between Spain and Portugal was formalized with the
Treaty of Tordesillas The Treaty of Tordesillas, ; pt, Tratado de Tordesilhas . signed in Tordesillas, Spain on June 7, 1494, and authenticated in Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly-discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire The Portuguese ...

Treaty of Tordesillas
in 1494. Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella hired
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
, who was dispatched in 1492, to colonize and bring new lands under the Spanish crown. Columbus 'discovered' a few islands in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
as early as 1493 and Ferdinand and Isabella immediately asked the pope to 'ratify' the discovery. In 1493,
Pope Alexander VI Pope Alexander VI (born Rodrigo de Borja; ca-valencia, Roderic Llançol i de Borja ; es, Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja, lang ; 1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as th ...

Pope Alexander VI
issued the '' Inter caetera divinai'', which affirmed that since the islands had been "undiscovered by others" that they were now under Spanish authority. Alexander granted Spain any lands that it discovered as long as they had not been "previously possessed by any Christian owner". The beginnings of European colonialism in the 'New World' effectively formalized the Doctrine of Discovery into '
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
', which at that time meant law that was agreed upon by Spain, Portugal, and the Catholic Church. Indigenous peoples were not consulted or included in these arrangements.


European colonialism in the 'New World'

Spain issued the Spanish Requirement of 1513 (''Requerimiento''), a document that was intended to inform Indigenous peoples that "they must accept Spanish missionaries and sovereignty or they would be annihilated." The document was supposed to be read to Indigenous peoples so that they theoretically could accept or reject the proposal before any war against them could be waged: "the ''Requerimiento'' informed the Natives of their natural law obligations to hear the gospel and that their lands had been donated to Spain." Refusal by Indigenous peoples meant that, in the Spaniard's eyes, war could 'justifiably' be waged against them. Many
conquistador Conquistadors (, ) or conquistadores (, ; meaning 'conquerors') were the invaders, knights, soldiers, and explorers of the Spanish Empire, Spanish and the Portuguese Empires. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to t ...

conquistador
s apparently feared that, if given the option, Indigenous peoples would actually accept Christianity, which would legally not permit invasion of their lands and the theft of their belongings. Legal scholars Robert J. Miller, Jacinta Rura, Larissa Behrendt, and Tracey Lindberg record that this commonly resulted in Spanish invaders reading the document aloud "in the night to the trees" or reading it "to the land from their ships". The scholars remark: "so much for
legal formalism Legal formalism is both a descriptive theory and a normative theory of how judges should decide cases. In its descriptive sense, formalists believe that judges reach their decisions by applying uncontroversial principles to the facts. Although th ...
and the
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake ( ...

free will
and natural law rights of New World Indigenous peoples." Being Catholic countries in 1493,
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
as well as
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
worked to 're-interpret' the Doctrine of Discovery to serve their own colonial interests. In the 16th century, England established a new interpretation of the Doctrine: "the new theory, primarily developed by English legal scholars, argued that the Catholic King
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Henry VII
of England, would not violate the 1493 papal bulls, which divided the world for the Spanish and Portuguese." This interpretation was also supported by
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Elizabeth I
's legal advisors in the 1580s and effectively set a precedent among European colonial nations that the first Christian nation to occupy land was the 'legal' owner and that this had to be respected in international law. This rationale was used in the colonization of what was to become the
American colonies#REDIRECT American colonies
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.
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James I
stated in the First Virginia Charter (1606) and the Charter to the Council of New England (1620) that colonists could be given property rights because the lands were "not now actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People". English monarchs issued that colonists should spread Christianity "to those
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as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God,
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to bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human civility, and to a settled and quiet Government." This approach to colonization of Indigenous lands resulted in an acceleration of exploration and land claiming, particularly by France, England, and
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. Land claims were made through symbolic "rituals of discovery" that were performed to illustrate the colonizing nation's legal claim to the land. Markers of possession such as crosses, flags, and plates claiming possession and other symbols became important in this contest to claim Indigenous lands. In 1642, Dutch explorers were ordered to set up posts and a plate that asserted their intention to establish a colony on the land. In the 1740s, French explorers buried lead plates at various locations to reestablish their 17th century land claims to
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. The French plates were later discovered by Indigenous peoples of the
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. Upon contact with English explorers, the English noted that the lead plates were monuments "of the renewal of
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possession" of the land. In 1774,
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attempted to invalidate Spanish land claims to
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Tahiti
by removing their marks of possession and then proceeding to set up English marks of possession. When the Spanish learned of this action, they quickly sent an explorer to reestablish their claim to the land. The English developed the legal concept of ''
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'' (land that is null or void) or '' vacuum domicilium'' (empty or vacant house) to validate their lands claims over Indigenous peoples' homelands. This concept formalized the idea that lands which were not being used in a manner that European legal systems approved of were open for European colonization. Historian Henry Reynolds captured this perspective in his statement that "Europeans regarded North America as a vacant land that could be claimed by right of discovery." These new legal concepts were developed in order to diminish reliance on papal authority to authorize or justify colonization claims. As the 'rules' of colonization became established into legal doctrine agreed upon by between European colonial powers, methods of laying claims to Indigenous lands continued to expand rapidly. As encounters between European colonizers and Indigenous populations in the rest of the world accelerated, so did the introduction of
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infectious diseases
, which sometimes caused local epidemics of extraordinary virulence. For example,
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,
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,
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malaria
,
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, and other diseases were unknown in pre-Columbian Americas and
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Oceania
.


Settler independence and continuing colonialism

Although the establishment of colonies throughout the world by various European powers was intended to expand their nation's wealth and influence, settler populations in some localities became anxious to assert their own autonomy. For example, settler independence movements in the
American colonies#REDIRECT American colonies
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were successful by 1783, following the
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. This resulted in the establishment of the
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United States of America
as a separate entity from
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British Empire
. The United States continued and expanded European colonial doctrine through adopting the Doctrine of Discovery as the law of the American federal government in 1823 with the
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US Supreme Court
case '' Johnson v. M'Intosh''. Statements at the ''Johnson'' court case illuminated the United States' support for the principles of the discovery doctrine:
The United States ... its civilized inhabitants now hold this country. They hold, and assert in themselves, the title by which it was acquired. They maintain, as all others have maintained, that discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase or by conquest; and gave also a right to such a degree of sovereignty, as the circumstances of the people would allow them to exercise. ...
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the character and religion of its inhabitants ... the superior genius of Europe ... ample compensation to the [Indians] by bestowing on them civilization and Christianity, in exchange for unlimited independence.


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 of Mexico and Central America) through to those who as yet remain in comparative isolation from any external influence (such as the Sentinelese people, Sentinelese and Jarawa people (Andaman Islands), 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. This would equate to just fewer than 6% of the total world population. This includes at least 5,000 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 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 Indigenous stewardship of 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, 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.


Indigenous people and environment

Misconceptions about complexity of the relationship between indigenous population and their natural habitat has informed Westerners view of California's "wild Eden" which may have led to misguided ideas on policy designs to preserve this "wilderness". Assuming that the natural habitat automatically provided food and nourishment for indigenous population placed practices toward the exploitative end of the spectrum of human interactions with nature as only "hunter-gatherers". There is evidence that tells another story and describes this relationship as a "calculated tempered use of nature as active agents of environmental change and stewardship". This distorted view of "wilderness" as uninhabited nature has resulted in removal of indigenous inhabitants to preserve "the wild". In reality, depriving the land from indigenous people management such as controlled burning, harvesting, and seed scattering has yielded dense understory shrubbery or tickets of young trees which are inhospitable to life. Current assessments indicate that indigenous peoples used land sustainably, without causing substantial losses of biodiversity, for thousands of years. A goal is to ascertain an unbiased view of indigenous population resource management practices instead of literature that often assumes their impact to be entirely negative or of little to no effect. Although, there is evidence of negative impacts, particularly, on large animals by over-exploitation, there is a plethora of evidence from historical literature, archaeological findings, ecological field studies, and native people's culture that paints another picture in which indigenous land management practices were largely successful in promoting habitat heterogeneity, increasing biodiversity, and maintaining certain vegetation types. These findings show that indigenous practices sustain lives while conserving natural resources and may be prove essential in improving our own relationship with natural resources. Setting aside "wilderness" is still imperative given our continued population growth, however, that growth itself requires another way of thinking in "re-creating specific human-ecosystem associations". Human-ecological history of land should inform resource management policies today. This history cannot be simplified into dichotomies of "hunter-gatherers" vs. "agriculturalists" and should entail more complex models. Indigenous practices are at the roots of this history, present a prime example of this complex relationship, and show how weaving their way of life into our culture allows us to meet our needs without destroying natural resources. It is really important that studying ethnoscience is not guarantee that every local societies and indigenous people must have special science to consider important.


Contradictory findings

Recently, it has come to light that the deforestation rate of Indonesian rainforests has been far greater than estimated. Such a rate could not have been the product of globalization as understood before; rather, it seemed that ordinary local people dependent on these forests for their livelihoods are in fact "joining distant corporations in creating uninhabitable landscapes." Popular theories of globalization cannot accommodate such phenomena. These conventions "package all cultural development into a single program" and assert that powerless minorities and communities have adjusted themselves according to global forces. However, in the case of Indonesian deforestation, global forces alone could not explain the rate of destruction. Therefore,A new approach is in which global forces are themselves "congeries of local/global interaction" with unexpected encounters across different populations and cultures. Then, destruction of forests in excess of market needs could be seen as an unexpected result of the encounter between global forces that feed the market needs and local livelihoods that depend on the same forests. Trying to capture these unexpected encounters under the idea of "friction" where culture is "continually co-produced in interactions" that are made up of "creative qualities of interconnection across difference" might seem awkward, unequal, or unstable. These "messy and surprising" features of such interactions across difference are exactly what should inform our models of cultural production. In this framework, friction makes global connection powerful and effective but at the same time, it has the capacity to disrupt and even cause cataclysms in its smooth operation as a well-oiled machine. A well-documented example of such process is the industrialization of rubber, which was made possible by European savage conquests, competitive passions of colonial botany, resistance strategies of peasants, wars, advancement of technology and science, and the struggle over industrial goals and hierarchies. Attention to friction provides a unique opportunity to create a theoretical framework under which developing an "ethnographic" account of globalization becomes a possibility. Within such an ethnographic account, Indonesian encounters can "shape the shared space in which Indonesian and non-Indonesian jointly experience fears, tensions, and uncertainties." Studying indigenous knowledge and their relationship with nature does not make it obligatory for indigenous people to have local knowledge to consider their rights. Criticizing environmentalist accounts of indigenous populations that are typically motivated by trying to protect their landscape and surroundings from globalization forces might be a good idea. To do so requires a two-fold strategy where description of an indigenous society and their habitat must make a "narratable" story, and be of some "value" to westerners so that it can generate international support for preserving their culture and environment. Using Eastern Penan populations to demonstrate how environmentalists transform Penan's indigenous "knowledge" of their forest by pulling from ethnographies of other forest population, e.g., in Amazon forests. In doing so, they corrupt the cultural diversity of indigenous by framing them into a single narrative in the name of preserving the biodiversity of their habitat. In case of Easter Penan, three categories of misrepresentation is noticeable:The Molong concept is purely a stewardship notion of resource management. communities or individuals take ownership of specific trees and harvest them in such a way that allows them to exploit long-term. This notion has gained an etherealism in environmentalist writings according to western romantic notions of indigenous to tell a more connecting story. Landscape features and particularly their names in local languages provided geographical and historical information for Penan people; whereas in environmentalist accounts, it has turned into a spiritual practice where trees and rivers represent forest spirits that are sacred to the Penan people. A typical stereotype of some environmentalists' approach to ecological ethnography is to present indigenous "knowledge" of nature as "valuable" to the outside world because of its hidden medicinal benefits. In reality, eastern Penan populations do not identify a medicinal stream of "knowledge". These misrepresentations in the "narrative" of indigeneity and "value" of indigenous knowledge might have been helpful for Penan's people in their struggle to protect their environment, but it might also have disastrous consequences. What happens if another case did not fit in this romantic narrative, or another indigenous knowledge did not seem beneficial to the outside world. These people were being uprooted in the first place because their communities did not fit well with the state's system of values.


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

In the post-colonialism, 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 pastoralism, 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.


Americas

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 impacts of historical and ongoing European colonization of the Americas on Indigenous communities have been in general quite severe, with many authorities estimating ranges of significant Population history of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, population decline primarily due to disease, land theft and violence. Several peoples have become extinct, or very nearly so. But there are and have been many thriving and resilient Indigenous nations and communities.


North America

North America is sometimes referred to by Indigenous peoples as Abya Yala or Turtle Island (North America), Turtle Island. In Mexico, about 25 million people self-reported as Indigenous in 2015. Some estimates put the Indigenous population of Mexico as high as 40-65 million people, making it the country with the highest Indigenous population in North America. In the southern states of Oaxaca (65.73%) and Yucatán (state), Yucatán (65.40%), the majority of the population is Indigenous, as reported in 2015. Other states with high populations of Indigenous peoples include Campeche (44.54%), Quintana Roo, (44.44%), Hidalgo (state), Hidalgo, (36.21%), Chiapas (36.15%), Puebla (35.28%), and Guerrero (33.92%). Indigenous peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people (Canada), Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada. More currently, the term "Aboriginal" is being replaced with "Indigenous". Several national organizations in Canada changed their names from "Aboriginal" to "Indigenous". Most notable was the change of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in 2015, which then split into Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Development Canada in 2017. According to the 2016 Census, there are over 1,670,000 Indigenous peoples in Canada. There are currently over 600 recognized List of First Nations peoples, First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, such as the Cree, Mohawk, Mikmaq, Blackfoot, Coast Salish, Innu, Dene and more, with distinctive Indigenous cultures, languages, art, and music. First Nations peoples signed 11 numbere
treaties
across much of what is now known as Canada between 1871 and 1921, except in parts of British Columbia. All treaty promises have been historically and contemporarily broken. 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 territory of Greenland within the Denmark, Kingdom of Denmark is also home to a recognised Indigenous and majority population of Inuit (about 85%) who settled the area in the 13th century, displacing the Indigenous Dorset culture, Dorset people and Greenlandic Norse. 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.


Central and South America

In some countries (particularly in Latin America), 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, age and ethnicity of speakers, with Native American name Controversy, no one term being universally accepted. While still in use in-group, and in many names of organizations, "Indian" is less popular among younger people, who tend to prefer "Indigenous" or simply "Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native, with most preferring to use the specific name of their tribe or Nation instead of generalities. In Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries, one finds the use of terms such as índios, ''pueblos wikt:indígena, indígenas'', ''amerindios'', ''povos nativos'', ''povos indígenas'', and, in Peru, ''Comunidades Nativas'' (Native Communities), particularly among Amazonian societies like the Urarina and Matsés. In Chile, there the most populous indigenous peoples are the Mapuches in the Center-South and the Aymaras in the North. Rapa Nui people, Rapa Nui of Easter Island, who are a Polynesians, Polynesian people, are the only non-Amerindian indigenous people in Chile. Indigenous peoples make up 0.4% of all Brazilian 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, Fundação Nacional do Índio, FUNAI reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted peoples 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 peoples.


Asia

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


Western Asia

*Armenians: are the Indigenous people of the Armenian Highlands. There are currently more Armenians living outside their ancestral homeland because of the Armenian genocide of 1915. *Assyrian people, Assyrians: are indigenous to Mesopotamia. They claim descent from the ancient Neo-Assyrian Empire, and lived in what was Assyria, their original homeland, and still speak dialects of Aramaic, the official language of the Assyrian Empire. *Anatolian Greeks, including the Pontic Greeks and Cappadocian Greeks, includes the Greek-speaking minorities that existed in Anatolia millennia before Turkish conquest. They are indigenous to Asiatic Turkey. Most were either killed in the Greek genocide or displaced during the following Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, population exchange; however, some remain in Turkey. *Georgians: are indigenous to Georgia (country), Georgia. *Kurds: are one of the Indigenous peoples of Mesopotamia. *Yazidis: are indigenous to Upper Mesopotamia. There are competing claims that Palestinians, Palestinian Arabs and Jews are indigenous to Palestine (region), historic Palestine/the Land of Israel. The argument entered the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the 1990s, with Palestinians claiming Indigenous status as a pre-existing population displaced by Jewish settlement, and currently constituting a minority in the State of Israel. Israeli Jews have in turn claimed indigeneity based on History of the Jews and Judaism in the Land of Israel, historic ties to the region and disputed the authenticity of Palestinian claims. In 2007, the Negev Bedouin were officially recognised as Indigenous peoples of Israel by the United Nations. This has been criticised both by scholars associated with the Israeli state, who dispute the Bedouin's claim to indigeneity, and those who argue that recognising just one group of Palestinians as indigenous risks undermining others' claims and "fetishising" nomadic cultures.


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. There are also Indigenous people residing in the hills of Northern, North-eastern and Southern India like the Tamils (of Tamil Nadu), Shina people, Shina, Kalash people, Kalasha, Khowar, Burusho people, Burusho, Balti people, Balti, Wakhi people, Wakhi, Domaki, Nuristani people, Nuristani, Kohistani people, Kohistani, Gujjar and Bakarwal, Kashmiri people, Kashmiri (of Jammu and Kashmir), Bhil, Bheel, Ladakhi, Lepcha people, Lepcha, Bhutia (of Sikkim), Naga people, Naga (of Nagaland), Assamese people, Indigenous Assamese communities, Mizo people, Mizo (of Mizoram), Tripuri people, Tripuri (Tripura), Adi people, Adi and Nyishi people, Nyishi (Arunachal Pradesh), Kodava people, Kodava (of Kodagu), Toda people, Toda, Kuruba, Kurumba, Kota, Karnataka, 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 Vedda people constitute a small minority of the population today.


North Asia

The Russians Russian conquest of Siberia, 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 1990s. 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. Thus, indigenous peoples 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." 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.


East 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. In a ground-breaking 1997 decision involving the Ainu people#Litigation, 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." The Dzungar people, Dzungar Oirats are indigenous to the Dzungaria in Northern Xinjiang. The Tajiks in China, Pamiris are indigenous to the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, 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. In Hong Kong, the indigenous inhabitants of the New Territories are defined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration as people patrilineality, descended through the male line from a person who was in 1898, before Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory. There are several different groups that make of the indigenous inhabitants, the Punti, Hakka people, Hakka, Hoklo people, Hoklo, and Tanka people, Tanka. All are nonetheless considered part of the Cantonese majority, although some like the Tanka have been shown to have genetic and anthropological roots in the Baiyue people, the pre-Han Chinese inhabitants of Southern China.


Southeast Asia

The Malay Singaporeans are the indigenous people of Singapore, inhabiting it since the Austronesian migration. They had established the 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 Chams, Cham are the indigenous people of the former state of Champa which was conquered by Vietnam in the History of the Cham–Vietnamese wars, 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. 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. 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 people, Moro (Tausug people, Tausug, Maguindanao people, Maguindanao Maranao people, 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.


Europe

Various Ethnic groups in Europe, ethnic groups have Genetic history of Europe, lived in Europe for millennia. However, the UN recognizes very few indigenous populations within Europe, which are confined to the far north and far east of the continent. Notable indigenous minority populations in Europe that are recognized by the UN include the Uralic Nenets people, Nenets, Samoyedic peoples, Samoyed, and Komi peoples, Komi peoples of northern Russia; Circassians of southern Russia and the North Caucasus; Crimean Tatars, Krymchaks and Crimean Karaites of Crimea in Ukraine; Sámi people, Sámi peoples of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland and northwestern Russia (in an area also referred to as Sápmi); Basques of Basque Country (greater region), Basque Country, Spain and southern
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France
; and the Sorbs, Sorbian people of Germany and Poland.


Oceania

In Australia, the indigenous populations are the Aboriginal Australian peoples (comprising many different nations and Aboriginal Australian languages, language groups) and the Torres Strait Islander peoples (also with sub-groups). These two groups are often referred to as Indigenous Australians, although terms such as First Nations and First Peoples are also used. Polynesians, Polynesian, Melanesians, Melanesian and Micronesians, Micronesian peoples originally populated many of the present-day Pacific Island countries in the
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
region over the course of thousands of years. European, American colonialism, American, History of Easter Island, Chilean and Japanese colonies, Japanese colonial expansion in the Pacific brought many of these areas under non-indigenous administration, mainly during the 19th century. During the 20th century, several of these former colonies gained independence and nation-states 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 people, Marshallese of the Marshall Islands. Some islands remain under administration from Paris, Washington, London or Wellington. 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. 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 Māori people, Māori make up 14.9% of the population of New Zealand, with less than half (46.5%) of all Māori residents identifying solely as Māori. The Māori are indigenous to Polynesia and settled New Zealand relatively recently, with migrations thought to have occurred in the 13th century CE. In New Zealand, pre-contact Māori groups did not necessarily see themselves as a single people, thus grouping into tribal (''iwi'') arrangements has become a more formal arrangement in more recent times. Many Māori national leaders signed a treaty with the British, the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), seen in some circles as forming the modern geo-political entity that is New Zealand. A majority of the Papua New Guinea population is indigenous, with more than 700 different nationalities recognized in a total population of 8 million. 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

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. These issues include cultural and linguistic preservation,
land rights Land law is the form of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment ...
, ownership and exploitation of natural resources, political determination and autonomy, environmental degradation and incursion, poverty, health, and discrimination. The interactions between indigenous and non-indigenous societies throughout history and contemporarily have been complex, ranging from outright conflict and subjugation to some degree of mutual benefit and cultural transfer. A particular aspect of Anthropology, anthropological study involves investigation into the ramifications of what is termed First contact (anthropology), ''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 and lands 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 Yakuts, 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), saw the High Court of Australia reject the idea of . This rejection ended up recognizing that there was a pre-existing system of law practised by the Meriam people. A 2009 United Nations publication says:
Although indigenous peoples are often portrayed as a hindrance to development, their cultures and traditional knowledge are also increasingly seen as assets. It is argued that it is important for the human species as a whole to preserve as wide a 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".No 'indigenous', reiterates Shafique
. bdnews24.com (18 June 2011). Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
This has angered the indigenous peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, collectively known as the Jumma.Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs
mochta.gov.bd. Retrieved on 28 March 2012.
Experts have protested against this move of the Bangladesh Government and have questioned the Government's definition of the term "indigenous peoples".INDIGENOUS PEOPLEChakma Raja decries non-recognition
. bdnews24.com (28 May 2011). Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
'Define terms minorities, indigenous'
. bdnews24.com (27 May 2011). Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
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.
. Himalmag.com. Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
Hindus and Chams have both 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. Cham in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalised, with ethnic Vietnamese settling on land previously owned by Cham people with state support. 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'. 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. The Vietnamese viewed and dealt with the indigenous Montagnards from the Central Highlands as "savages", which caused a Montagnard uprising against the Vietnamese. 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. The tremendous scale of Vietnamese Kinh colonists flooding into the Central Highlands has significantly altered the demographics of the region. 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." In May 2016, the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) affirmed that indigenous peoples 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.Coates 2004:12 The session affirms that, since indigenous peoples are vulnerable to exploitation, Social exclusion, marginalization, oppression, forced Cultural assimilation, assimilation, and genocide by nation states formed from colonizing populations or by different, politically dominant ethnic groups, individuals and communities maintaining ways of life indigenous to their regions are entitled to special protection.


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 The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unit ...
, 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 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. The first UN publication on the State of the World's Indigenous Peoples revealed alarming statistics about indigenous peoples' health. Health disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous populations are evident in both developed and developing countries. Native Americans in the United States are 600 times more likely to acquire tuberculosis and 62% more likely to commit suicide than the non-Indian population. Tuberculosis, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are major health concerns for the indigenous in developed countries. Globally, health disparities touch upon nearly every health issue, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, malaria, cardiovascular disease, malnutrition, parasitic infections, and respiratory diseases, affecting indigenous peoples at much higher rates. Many causes of indigenous children's mortality could be prevented. Poorer health conditions amongst indigenous peoples result from longstanding societal issues, such as extreme poverty and racism, but also the intentional marginalization and dispossession of indigenous peoples by dominant, non-indigenous populations and societal structures.


Racism and discrimination

Indigenous peoples have frequently been subjected to various forms of racism and discrimination. Indigenous peoples have been denoted ''primitives'', ''savages'' or ''uncivilized''. These terms occurred commonly during the heyday of European colonial expansion, but still continue in use in certain societies in modern times. During the 17th century, Europeans commonly labeled indigenous peoples as "uncivilized". Some philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), considered indigenous people to be merely "savages". Others (especially literary figures in the 18th century) popularised the concept of "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, the practice 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".Survival International website – About Us/FAQ
Survivalinternational.org. Retrieved on 28 March 2012.
Friends of Peoples Close to Nature considers not only that indigenous culture should be respected as not being inferior, but also sees indigenous ways of life as offering frameworks in sustainability and as a part of the struggle within the "corrupted" western world, from which the threat stems. Retrieved from Internet Archive 13 December 2013. After World War I (1914-1918), 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.


Cultural appropriation

The cultures of indigenous peoples provides appeal for New Age advocates seeking to find ancient traditional truths, spirituality, spiritualities and practices to cultural appropriation, appropriate into their worldviews.


Environmental injustice

At an international level, indigenous peoples have received increased recognition of their environmental rights since 2002, but few countries respect these rights in reality. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, established indigenous peoples' right to self-determination, implying several rights regarding natural resource management. In countries where these rights are recognized, land titling and demarcation procedures are often put on delay, or leased out by the state as concessions for extractive industries without consulting indigenous communities. Many in the United States federal government are in favor of exploiting oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the Gwich'in indigenous people rely on herds of caribou. Oil drilling could destroy thousands of years of culture for the Gwich'in. On the other hand, some of the Iñupiat, Inupiat Eskimo, another indigenous community in the region, favor oil drilling because they could benefit economically. The introduction of Industrial agriculture, industrial agricultural technologies such as fertilizers, pesticides, and large plantation schemes have destroyed ecosystems that indigenous communities formerly depended on, forcing resettlement. Development projects such as dam construction, pipelines and resource extraction have displaced large numbers of indigenous peoples, often without providing compensation. Governments have forced indigenous peoples off of their ancestral lands in the name of ecotourism and national park development. Indigenous women are especially affected by land dispossession because they must walk longer distances for water and fuel wood. These women also become economically dependent on men when they lose their livelihoods. Indigenous groups asserting their rights has most often resulted in torture, imprisonment, or death. The building of dams can hurt indigenous peoples by hurting the ecosystems that provide them water, food. For example the Munduruku people in the Amazon rainforest are opposing the building of Tapajós hydroelectric complex, Tapajós dam with the help of Greenpeace. Most indigenous populations are already subject to the deleterious effects of climate change. Climate change has not only environmental, but also human rights and socioeconomic implications for indigenous communities. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
acknowledges climate change as an obstacle to Millennium Development Goals, notably the fight against poverty, disease, and child mortality, in addition to environmental sustainability.


Use of indigenous knowledge

Indigenous knowledge is considered as very important for issues linked with sustainability. Martin Nakata, Professor Martin Nakata is a pioneer in the field of bringing indigenous knowledge to mainstream academics and media through digital documentation of unique contributions by aboriginal people. The World Economic Forum supports using indigenous knowledge and giving to the indigenous peoples ownership of their land for protecting nature.


Knowledge reconstruction

The Western and Eastern Penan people, Penan are two major groups of indigenous populations in Malaysia. The Eastern Penan are famous for their resistance to loggers threatening their natural resources, specifically Sago palms and various fruit bearing trees. Because of the Penan's international fame, environmentalists often visited the area to document such happenings and learn more about and from the people there, including their perspective on the land's invasion. Environmentalists such as Davis and Henley, lacking dialectical connections needed to deeply understand the Penan, additionally lacked full knowledge of the situation's specific weight to the indigenous peoples. On a good intent, the two embarked on a mission to propagate conservation of the Penan's land resources, and mostly likely feeling a deep but inexpressible richness in the people's traditions, Davis and Henley were among the many who reconstructed Traditional knowledge, indigenous knowledge into fitting a Western narrative and agenda. For example, Davis and Henley romanticized and misconstrued the traditional Penan concept of molong, meaning: to preserve. Brosius observed this concept as the Penan marked trees for personal use and to preserve them for future harvesting of fruits or for materials. Davis and Henley made inferences beyond the truth of this tradition in their accounts while also lumping all native groups of Malaysia into one homogenous group with the same ideas and traditions. In other words, they made no distinction between the Eastern and Western Penan in their descriptions. Another common occurrence is to extend indigenous knowledge beyond its limits and into spiritually profound and sacredness. This tendency of journalists extends beyond Davis and Henley. It serves non-natives to add a narrative and value beyond that which already exists within the knowledge base of indigenous peoples, while also bridging many various gaps in understanding not understood otherwise. Not only do these false recounts of indigenous knowledge and traditions skew the beliefs of onlookers, but they also reconstruct the idea native peoples have of their own traditions by erasing its original value system and replacing it with a westernized version.


See also

* Collective rights * Colonialism * Cultural appropriation * Ethnic minority * Ecotourism#Impact on indigenous people and its territories, Ecotourism * Genocide of indigenous peoples * Human rights * The Image Expedition * Indigenism * Indigenous Futurisms * Indigenous intellectual property * Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative *
Indigenous rights Indigenous rights are those rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according ...
* Intangible cultural heritage * International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples * National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canadian National Indigenous Peoples Day * Indigenous Peoples' Day, U.S. Indigenous Peoples' Day * Isuma * List of active non-governmental organizations of national minorities, indigenous and diasporas, List of active NGOs of national minorities * List of ethnic groups * List of indigenous peoples * Missing and murdered Indigenous women * Uncontacted peoples * United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues * Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization * Virgin soil epidemic


References


Further reading

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External links


Awareness raising film by Rebecca Sommer for the Secretariat of the UNPFII

"First Peoples" from PBS


*"Oaxaca: A Land of Amazing Diversity" by John P. Shmal


Institutions


IFAD and indigenous peoples (International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD)

IPS Inter Press Service
News on indigenous peoples from around the world {{Authority control Indigenous peoples,