9 Facts about Indigenous Communities

10 facts about indigenous communities

Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a place that has been colonised and settled by another ethnic group. There is great diversity between different indigenous communities, so there is no one way to define them. However, the UN outlines several identifying factors for these communities.

  • Self-identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member
  • Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies
  • Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
  • Distinct social, economic or political systems
  • Distinct language, culture and beliefs
  • From non-dominant groups of society
  • Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities

Many people do not know much about these communities, so we have highlighted 9 facts below!

  1. There are 370 million Indigenous peoples around the world, making up 5% of the global population
  2. Indigenous communities make up 15% of the extreme poor, globally
  3. They belong to more than 5,000 indigenous groups and speak more than 4,000 languages

There are indigenous communities all over the world, in more than 90 countries. Most indigenous peoples (70%), live in Asia.

4. Their life expectancy is 20 years lower than non-indigenous communities

Women are particularly impacted by this and suffer from higher rates of maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, STDs and are more likely to suffer violence than women from non-indigenous communities.

5. They are some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the world

According to Amnesty International, indigenous peoples often face discrimination in countries’ legal systems. Their peaceful efforts to protect and maintain control over their traditional lands, have often led to accusations of treason and terrorism

6. Indigenous peoples have a special relationship with the land they live on

One of the identifying factors of indigenous communities is the strong link to their territories and surrounding natural resources. They often maintain their land in a ‘traditional’ way. This means they harness and use knowledge that stems from centuries-old observation and interaction with nature. 

7. 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is safeguarded by indigenous communities

More than 20% of the carbon stored above ground can be found in forest land managed by indigenous peoples. These communities hold crucial knowledge about how to maintain and protect these environments from the threats of climate change. Their sustainable production and consumption of indigenous foods benefits natural resources and ecosystems as well as helping to mitigate climate change! It is crucial that we work to protect and support indigenous peoples and preserve this knowledge to help in the fight against global warming.

8. They have been protected by the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples since 2007

The UN describes this declaration of rights as the most comprehensive, international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It outlines the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

9. 9th August is international day of the world’s indigenous peoples

The theme of this year’s day of the world’s indigenous peoples was: “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.” A social contract is the unwritten agreement that societies make to cooperate for social and economic benefits. For years, indigenous communities have been left out of this social contract in many countries. The new social contract must be based on genuine partnership that encourages and provides equal opportunities for all of society, including indigenous peoples.

Here at Action Change we work with Australian Indigenous Youths to provide support and help create a safe community space for them in order to try and prevent them from being involved with crime as they grow up. Research has shown that due to the lack of opportunities offered to them, indigenous youths in Australia often end up involved with crime. This project helps Australian Indigenous youths to access training programmes, and to get admitted into the education system. 

Keep an eye on this project on our social media, and if you can, please donate here to help this project grow!

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