Indigenous people are people defined in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant.
So what makes people indigenous?
• Indigenous people are descended from the pre-colonial/pre-invasion inhabitants of our region.
• Indigenous people maintain a close tie to our land in both our cultural and economic practices.
• Indigenous people suffer from economic and political marginalization as a minority group.
• Indigenous people are a group that is considered Indigenous if it defines itself that way.
OK, let me see if I got this.
A bunch of people, probably a family or a group of families find a plot of land that they like and claim it as their own. They grow their crops, raise their families, build their settlements, form their own language, fashion and religion.
Other groups of people do the same thing in another place and everyone will try to get along with each other.
Then tribe comes in and wants what these indigenous people have. They may want their land or women or resources or wealth.
If the new neighbors are more powerful and more aggressive they may assimilate or dominate or eliminate the indigenous people.
To justify their actions the new neighbors can create the fear of a different looking people or a different sounding people or the always reliable a different religion.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007, by a majority of 144 states in favor, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).
In May 2016 Canada officially removed its objector status to UNDRIP, almost a decade after it was adopted by the General Assembly. By now also the other 3 objectors have, to various degrees, turned their vote.
While as a General Assembly Declaration it is not a legally binding instrument under international law, it does “represent the dynamic development of international legal norms and it reflects the commitment of the UN member states to move in certain directions”; the UN describes it as setting “an important standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples that will undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations against the planet's 370 million indigenous people and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalization.”
UNDRIP codifies “Indigenous historical grievances, contemporary challenges and socio-economic, political and cultural aspirations” and is the “culmination of generations-long efforts by Indigenous organizations to get international attention, to secure recognition for their aspirations, and to generate support for their political agendas.”
The Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues. It also “emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. It “prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples”, and it “promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development”. The goal of the Declaration is to encourage countries to work alongside indigenous peoples to solve global issues, like development, multicultural democracy and decentralization. According to Article 31, there is a major emphasis that the indigenous peoples will be able to protect their cultural heritage and other aspects of their culture and tradition, which is extremely important in preserving their heritage. The elaboration of this Declaration had already been recommended by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Prior to the adoption of the Declaration, and throughout the 62nd session of the General Assembly, a number of countries expressed concern about some key issues, such as self-determination, access to lands, territories and resources and the lack of a clear definition of the term indigenous.
Indigenous people like the Mayans, Native Americans (Indians), Aborigines, Eskimos, Chiapas, Yucatán’s, Oaxaca, Yazidis, Nivkh people, and many, many others have found a way of life and created a culture of traditional history. Some might call them savages or heathens or primitives or uncivilized yet their simple lifestyle is envied by the high paced rat race of the modern world.
No matter how we classify ourselves, we all have to merge in with the norms of the majority and accepted laws of the region where we shelter ourselves. Underneath all the makeup and faux uniforms we are all indigenous people with our own language, religion, and heritage.