definition of indigenous people

There are different definitions about indigenous people, mainly because of the big diversity worldwide. According to a modern and inclusive standpoint from the United Nations the ‘indigenous’ are people who:

  • Identify themselves as indigenous and are recognized and accepted as such;
  • Show historical continuity with pre-colonial society;
  • Have strong connections to their territory and surrounding natural resources;
  • Have differentiated social, economic or political systems;
  • Speak their own language and have their own culture and believes;
  • Form the non-dominant groups of society;
  • Are resolved to reproduce and maintain their ancestral surrounding and systems as distinctive peoples and societies.

The situation indigenous people are facing is alarming. There is a lot that needs to be done to improve the general well-being of these groups. As stated by the ´International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs´:

“Indigenous people live at the edge of society; they are poor, less educated, die at younger age, are more inclined to commit suicide and in general are in poorer health conditions than compared to the rest of society”.

It is therefore that the ´International Covenant for the Civil and Political Rights´ has stipulated a special regulation which is applicable to minorities, including indigenous people. Article 27 states the rights of minorities as follows:

“In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.”

Since the survival of indigenous people is a worldwide problem, Foundation Protect our Cultures is committed to ensuring their existence.