The Indigeneity; Who are Indigenous People?
According to Cultural Survival – an indigenous-led international organization—whereas there is no universally agreed definition for “Indigenous” there are characteristics that tend to be common among Indigenous Peoples:
Indigenous People are distinct populations relative to the dominant post-colonial culture of their country. They are often minority populations within the current post-colonial nations states.
Indigenous People usually have (or had) their own language, cultures, and traditions influenced by living relationships with their ancestral homelands. Today, Indigenous people speak some 4,000 languages.
Indigenous People have distinctive cultural traditions that are still practised.
Indigenous People have (or had) their own land and territory, to which they are tied in myriad ways.
Indigenous People self-identify as Indigenous.
Indigenous Peoples world over, number about 6.2% of the world population. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are approximately 476.6 million Indigenous People in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world, but about 70% of them live in Asia and the Pacific, followed by 16.3% in Africa, 11.5% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1.6% in Northern America, and 0.1% in Europe and Central Asia.
Examples of Indigenous Peoples include the Inuit of the Arctic, the White Mountain Apache of Arizona, the Yanomami and the Tupi People of the Amazon, traditional pastoralists like the Maasai in East Africa, and tribal peoples like the Bontoc people of the mountainous region of the Philippines.
The above description is consistent with the interpretation clause in the constitution of Kenya which has gone ahead to provide for affirmative action aimed at addressing the historical exclusion of indigenous people from mainstream decision-making processes. There is still a lot to be done with the laws and practices in Kenya to mainstream indigenous rights.
Read more here:
- Indigenous Peoples at the UN
- Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)
- Indigenous Peoples at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
- Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Commission
- Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (UNFCCC)
- Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (CBD)