International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples

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International Day of World's Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous people make up 6.2% of the world population, that is approximately 450+ million people in 90 nations. Indigenous peoples have a wide range of distinct cultures, customs, languages, and knowledge systems. They have a special bond with their homelands and have different ideas about growth based on their worldviews and objectives. Preserving their distinct culture and value systems is imperative in this homogenizing world system. This is why every year on August 9th, the world celebrates the indigenous people on International Day of the World’s Indigenous people! Keep reading to find out more about this special day.

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Every two weeks, one indigenous language is believed to be extinct.

Source: human rights commission

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

Source: this is a day for that

The United Nations General Assembly declared it for the first 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 Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 1982.

Who are Indigenous People?

Source: UN.org

Indigenous people are the first people to live in a certain location – the first people to establish a community on that territory before other people arrived to live in, conquer, or colonize it. People claim to be indigenous themselves. That is, people must decide whether or not they believe themselves to be indigenous.

In 90 nations, there are more than 476 million indigenous people. They represent 5,000 distinct civilizations and speak the vast majority of the world’s tens of thousands of languages now. Indigenous peoples have their own set of beliefs, cultures, and traditions. Many indigenous people still live in close proximity to the land, with deep regard for and knowledge of it.

What Problems do Indigenous People Face?

Indigenous people are not dominant in the societies in which they reside. The individuals that arrived later are the dominating groupings. This implies that indigenous people have faced plenty of problems resulting from a lack of economic power, social protection, and political representation.

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

History & Significance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

International Day of World's Indigenous Peoples
Source: Affairs Cloud

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 first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995–2004). The Assembly declared a Second International Decade, with the theme “A Decade for Action and Dignity,” from 2005 to 2015.

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

Languages of the Indigenous People

Recently, it was estimated that around 2,680 indigenous languages were endangered and on the point of extinction. As a result, the United Nations selected 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages in order to persuade, convince, and raise awareness of indigenous languages.

YouTube: UVic

Symbols of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

International day of world's Indigenous peoples
Source: UN.org

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has selected Rebang Dewan’s artwork as its symbol (Rebang is a Chackma boy from Bangladesh). The symbol has also been featured on promotional materials for the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. It has two green leaf ears facing one another, each cradling a globe that looks like the planet Earth.

A picture of a handshake (two separate hands) is in the center of the globe, and a landscape background is above the handshake. Blue at the top and bottom of the globe encompasses the handshake and the landscape background. Rebang Dewan’s artwork is frequently featured with a pale blue version of the UN logo with the phrase “We the Peoples” inscribed in the center for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. 

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: The Theme for 2021

The 2021 theme is “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

YouTube: RAGE

What is the Social Contract and Why is it important?

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

Various societies have attempted to address this in recent years and decades, including through apologies, truth and reconciliation efforts, legislative reforms, and constitutional reforms, while international efforts have included the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and advisory bodies such as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.

Despite the presence of international mechanisms to address these inequalities, not everyone, including indigenous peoples, has joined the collective path to ensuring that no one is left behind. As a result, a new social compact must be constructed and redesigned as an expression of collaboration for the common benefit of people and the environment.

The new social contract must be built on genuine involvement and cooperation, with equal opportunities and respect for all people’s rights, dignity, and freedoms. The right of indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making is critical to establishing reconciliation between indigenous peoples and governments.

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Organizations working for the betterment of the Indigenous peoples

This is a list of the organizations that are working in the welfare of the indigenous people in India:

1. Adivasi Women’s Network (AWN) (Email: awn.office@gmail.com; elinahoro@gmail.com) 1st Lane, Don Bosco, Kokar, Khohar Toli, Ranchi, Jharkhand 834001, India) 

2. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) (Website: www.aippnet.org; Email: aippmail@aippnet.org; Address: 108 Moo 5, T. San Phranet, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210, Thailand) 

3. Borok Peoples Human Rights Organization (BPHRO) (Email: nokphang@gmail.com; Address: Palace Compound, Post Box No. 80, Agartala-1, Tripura, India) 

4. Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA) Manipur (Website: www.cramanipur.org; Email: cra.manipur@gmail.com; Address: Sega Road Hodam Leirak Imphal Manipur 795001 India) 

5. Chhattisgarh Tribal Peoples Forum (CTPF) (Email: plakra72@gmail.com

6. Indigenous Peoples Forum, Odisha (IPFO) (Email: nickybarla@gmail.com

7. Jharkhand Indigenous and Tribal Peoples for Action (JITPA) (Email: jitpa.jharkhand@gmail.com; Address: At Hehal Delatoli, Itki Road, PO Hehal, Ranchi Jharkhand 834005 India) 

8. Karbi Human Rights Watch (KHRW) (Email: khrwatch@yahoo.com; pankajteron@rediffmail.com

9. Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC) (Email: mphrc1@gmail.com; Address: Mawlai-Mawroh, Shillong, Meghalaya 793008, India) 

10. Naga Peoples Movement For Human Rights (NPMHR) (Email: npmhr2@gmail.com, neingulokrome@gmail.com; Address: Kohima, Nagaland 797005, India) 

11. Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF) (Website: http://zoindigenous.blogspot.com/; Email: zoindigenous@gmail.com; Address: MZP Pisa Pui, Treasury Square, Aizawl, Mizoram 796001, India)

Also Read: World Nature Conservation Day

How can you Contribute?

Despite their progress, indigenous peoples still only control a small fraction of their land legally across the world. The UN agreement is a significant step forward, but more nations must commit to it, and those who have signed must follow through on their commitments.

Indigenous peoples are battling for their rights and resisting deforestation and climate change all across the world. To contribute to the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we can try to support them and raise awareness about the event on social media platforms.

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This was all about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Celebrating and preserving unique cultures and diversity is the crux of this day. Use this day to educate more people about the indigenous people and celebrate their unique lifestyle by learning more about different groups and communities closest to you. Follow Leverage Edu for more educational content.

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