The Indigenous Peoples of the World Must Survive

Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoplesaboriginal peoplesnative peoples, or autochthonous peoples, are peoples who are descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. However, not all Indigenous Peoples share this characteristic, sometimes having adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given locale/region or live a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent  of the world.[1][2]  

Throughout the world today it is widely recognized that indigenous peoples are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. It is estimated that there are 300 to 500 million indigenous people in the world, representing over 5,000 languages and cultures on every continent. Indigenous Peoples, in their closely dependent relationships to their environment, often state that they have guardianship of the earth – their terrestrial mother, the giver of all life. Expressed another way, they feel they are the spiritual landlords of nations, while the governing, or political landlords are usually not indigenous.

Today, many indigenous peoples are engaged in a struggle to remain on their lands and retain their right to their natural resources. Other indigenous peoples have long since been removed from their lands, denied their languages and traditional ways, and consequently been left impoverished.

Yet despite their importance to a conscious, global society, Indigenous Peoples are consistently subjugated to the governing of political landlords, resource-deficient governments, and short-sighted corporations. Their ways are being lost and support is lacking.

To protect these cultures is to protect all of us.