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International Day of the world’s Indigenous people

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Every year on 9th August, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed to promote apprehension and preserve the rights of the world’s indigenous people. This event also honours indigenous people’s achievements and contributions to global concerns such as environmental conservation.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed it for the 1st time in December 1994, on the anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub Commission on the Advancement and protection of Human Rights.

Who Are Indigenous People?

They are the 1st people to live in a definite location, the first people to establish a community on that territory prior to other people arriving to live in, conquer, or colonize it. People claim to be indigenous themselves. That is, individuals must decide whether or not they believe oneself to be indigenous.

In 90 nations, there are more than 477 million indigenous people. They represent 5,000 distinct civilizations and express the broad majority of the world’s tens of thousands of languages now. Indigenous peoples have their own set of faith, cultures, and traditions. Many indigenous people still live in close proximity to the land, with cavernous regard for and knowledge of it.

Indigenous people
world’s Indigenous people

What Problems Do Indigenous People Face?

Indigenous people are not presiding in the societies in which they reside. The people that arrived later are the dominating groupings. This inferred that indigenous people have faced plenty of difficulties resulting from an absence of economic power, social protection, and political representation.

Although indigenous people account for fewer than 7 percent of the global population, they account for 15 percent of the world’s poorest people. Indigenous populations are more likely to have restricted access to healthcare and schooling, and they live shorter lifetimes than non-indigenous individuals. Their linguistics are seldomly taught in schools, and many of them are on the verge of extinction. 

History and Significance and Symbol of The Indigenous People:

The United Nations General Assembly declared the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in December 1994, to be observed every year throughout the 1st International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. 

People from all around the globe are invited to observe the day in order to spread the UN’s message about them. Educational forums and classroom activities are practised to develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of indigenous peoples.

Recently, it was evaluated that around 2,690 indigenous languages were endangered and on the point of disappearance. As an upshot, the United Nations selected 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages in order to coax, convince, and raise awareness of indigenous languages.

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous matter has selected Rebang Dewan’s artwork as its symbol. The symbol has also been presented on promotional materials for the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. It has 2 green leaf ears facing one another, each holding a globe that looks like the planet Earth.

A picture of a handshake is in the centre of the globe, and a landscape background is above the handshake. Blue at the peak and bottom of the globe encompasses the handshake and the landscape background. Rebang Dewan’s artwork is frequently featured with a light blue version of the UN logo with the phrase “We the Peoples” written in the centre for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. 

Theme for 2022 is that, “It aims to preserve Indigenous languages, which helps preserve their cultures, world views and visions, as well as expressions of independence”.

 Indigenous people
world’s Indigenous people

What is Social Contract and Why Is It Important?

A social contract is an unwritten agreement among societies to work jointly for the customary good. Indigenous peoples were never included in the social agreement in many nations where they were pushed from their lands, their traditions and languages diminished, and their people excluded from political and economic ventures. The dominant populations, then, formed the social contract.

Various societies have tried to address this in recent years and decades, including through apologies, truth and reconciliation efforts, legislative reforms, and constitutional improvements, while international efforts have included the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and advisory bodies like the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.
In spite of the presence of international mechanisms to address these inequalities, not everybody, including indigenous individuals, has joined the common path to ensure that no one is left behind.

As a result, a new social compact must be built and redesigned as an expression of collaboration for the common benefit of individuals and the environment.

The new social contract must be built on actual or real involvement and cooperation, with equal chance and respect for all people’s rights, dignity, and freedoms. The right of indigenous peoples to participate in decision making is condemnatory to establish reconciliation between indigenous peoples and governments.

Organisations Working For The Betterment of Indigenous People:

This is a list of the organisations that are working in the welfare of the indigenous individuals in India:

  • Adivasi Women’s Network 
  • Asia Indigenous People Pact 
  • Centre of Research and Advocacy
  • Chhattisgarh Tribal People Forum
  • Indigenous People Forum
  • Jharkhand Indigenous and Tribal people for Action
  • Karbi Human Right Watch
  • Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council
  • Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights
  • Zo  Indigenous Forum
COVID-19 and Indigenous People Resilience:

While the exact origins of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed, the link between environmental damage and pandemics is well known to leading research organisations. But there is still another group of experts, who have been dwelling on the threat of a pandemic even before COVID-19: indigenous peoples. 

Thanks to their traditional learning and their relationship with the natural world, they have long known that the mortification of the environment has the potential to unleash disease.

As we struggle against the spread of the pandemic, it is more significant than ever to safeguard indigenous peoples and their knowledge. Their territories are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity and they can teach us much about how to rebalance our relationship with nature and reduce the risk of future pandemics.

Indigenous peoples are looking for their own solutions to this widespread problem. They are taking action and using traditional knowledge, rituals and practices such as voluntary isolation, and sealing off their territories, as well as obstructive measures.

 Indigenous people
world Indigenous people
Their Challenges are Our Challenges:

Indigenous communities already face a lot of challenges, and the luckless present reality is that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are worsening these challenges more.

Indigenous communities already experience poor access to healthcare, notably higher rates of diseases, lack of access to essential services, sanitation, and other important preventive measures, such as clean water, soap, disinfectant, etc. Moreover, most nearby local medical facilities are often under supply and under staffed. 

Even when indigenous individuals can access healthcare services, they can face disgrace and discrimination. A prime factor is to ensure services and facilities are provided in indigenous languages, as appropriate to the particular situation of Indigenous peoples.

Indigenous individuals traditional lifestyles are a source of their flexibility and can also pose a threat at this time in preventing the spread of the virus.  For instance, most indigenous communities usually organise large traditional gatherings to mark special events e.g. harvests, coming of age ceremonies, etc. Some indigenous communities also stay in multi-generational housing, which puts Indigenous peoples and their families, mainly the Elders, at risk.

Moreover, indigenous individuals already face food insecurity as an outcome of the loss of their traditional lands and territories or even climate change effects. They also oppose even facing challenges accessing food. With the loss of their traditional livelihoods, which are often land based, a lot of peoples, who work in traditional occupations and maintenance economies or in the informal sector, will be adversely affected by the pandemic. The situation of indigenous women, who are often the prime providers of food and nutrition to their families, is even serious.

How can you Contribute?

Despite their progress, indigenous individual still only dominate a small fraction of their land legally across the globe. The UN agreement is a significant step forward, but more countries must commit to it, and those who have signed must stick through on their commitments.

Indigenous individuals are fighting for their rights and resisting deforestation and climate change all across the globe. To contribute to the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we can attempt to support them and raise consciousness about the event on social media platforms.

Conclusion:

This was entirely about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Celebrating and preserving special cultures and diversity is the crux of this day. Utilize this day to educate more and more individuals about the indigenous individuals and celebrate their unique lifestyle by acknowledging more about different groups and communities closest to you. To know About 7 Eye-Opening Facts on International Day of the world’s Indigenous people, Click Here.

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