Do you know who the indigenous people are? How many tribal communities are there in the world? What is their role in the development of a country? Many don’t even give a thought about these crucial communities but they are a key figure in protecting the environment and culture. Learn more about them on International Day of World Indigenous People.
Who Are Indigenous People?
One can define them as a group of people or community that has distinct culture, tradition, and characteristics than other common societies. These ethnic groups are also called the ‘safeguard of nature’ as they live and work closely to preserve the natural resources around them.
In other words, they are the first people of any territory or land that is later occupied by dominant societies. However, there is no official definition of such people as per the UN body. They identify indigenous people based on the following understanding:
- Pre-settlers of any societies with historical evidence and continuity
- Any race of group having unique beliefs, culture, and language
- Having a strong connection with surrounding resources and territories
- Belongs to non-domination groups of society
- Practicing ancestral traditions to maintain their natural living environment
Why Should We Care About Indigenous People?
1. They Share Major Part of Population
Globally, there are more than 370 million indigenous people around the world spread around 90 countries. China and India account for the highest population contributing to 17.1 percent of the global population. Greenland has the highest number of such people with the largest share of the total population i.e. 88.0 percent.
2. They Represent 5000 Different Cultures
Tribes have a strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources which results in distinct socio-political systems. They have their distinct language, culture, and beliefs.
3. Protector Of Languages And Land
Their language, culture, and existence are important from a global point of view. These ethnic groups safeguard around 7000 languages and occupy 20% of land across the globe.
4. Custodians of Ecosystem
Indigenous people share a strong bond with nature and their traditional knowledge about managing ecosystems helps create sustainable solutions.
5. Vital For Climate Change
As per the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, these people play a crucial role in attaining the zero hunger goal. The kind of crops they grow are highly adaptable to nature and can withstand the climate changes such as drought, flood, and extreme temperature.
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Thus, protecting their community is highly beneficial for global development and attaining sustainable biological and environmental goals. The UN General Assembly had passed a resolution in the year 1994 to protect their community, rights, and work to resolve the challenges faced by them.
On August 9, every year International Day of World Indigenous People is celebrated to educate people about their importance and rights.