Indigenous Peoples - Rights, Issues and Concerns

Rights, Issues and Concerns

Part of a series on
Indigenous rights
Rights
Conflict resolution · Cultural diversity
Cultural heritage · Forced assimilation
Forced relocation · Freedom of religion
Gender equality · Human rights
Intellectual property · Land rights
Land-use planning · Language
Racial discrimination · Right to identity
Self-determination · Traditional knowledge
Governmental organizations
AADNC · ACHPR · Arctic Council
Bureau of Indian Affairs · CDI
Council of Indigenous Peoples
FUNAI · NCIP · UNPFII
NGOs and political groups
AFN · Amazon Watch · CAP · COICA
CONAIE · Cultural Survival · EZLN · fPcN
IPACC · IPCB · IWGIA · NARF · ONIC
Survival International · UNPO · (more ...)
Issues
Colonialism · Civilizing mission
Cultural genocide · Manifest Destiny
Postdevelopment theory · Lands inhabited by indigenous peoples
Legal representation
ILO 169 · United Nations Declaration
Category

Indigenous peoples confront a diverse range of concerns associated with their status and interaction with other cultural groups, as well as changes in their inhabited environment. Some challenges are specific to particular groups; however, other challenges are commonly experienced. Bartholomew Dean and Jerome Levi (2003) explore why and how the circumstances of indigenous peoples are improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. These issues include cultural and linguistic preservation, land rights, ownership and exploitation of natural resources, political determination and autonomy, environmental degradation and incursion, poverty, health, and discrimination.

The interaction between indigenous and non-indigenous societies throughout history has been complex, ranging from outright conflict and subjugation to some degree of mutual benefit and cultural transfer. A particular aspect of anthropological study involves investigation into the ramifications of what is termed first contact, the study of what occurs when two cultures first encounter one another. The situation can be further confused when there is a complicated or contested history of migration and population of a given region, which can give rise to disputes about primacy and ownership of the land and resources.

The Bangladesh Government has stated that there are "no Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh". This has angered the Indigenous Peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, collectively known as the Jumma (whichs include the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tenchungya, Chak, Pankho, Mru, Murung, Bawm, Lushai, Khyang, Gurkha, Assamese, Santal and Khumi). Experts have protested against this move of the Bangladesh Government and have questioned the Government's definition of the term "Indigenous Peoples". This move by the Bangladesh Government is seen by the Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh as another step by the Government to further erode their already limited rights.

Wherever indigenous cultural identity is asserted, some particular set of societal issues and concerns may be voiced which either arise from (at least in part), or have a particular dimension associated with, their indigenous status. These concerns will often be commonly held or affect other societies also, and are not necessarily experienced uniquely by indigenous groups.

Despite the diversity of Indigenous peoples, it may be noted that they share common problems and issues in dealing with the prevailing, or invading, society. They are generally concerned that the cultures of Indigenous peoples are being lost and that indigenous peoples suffer both discrimination and pressure to assimilate into their surrounding societies. This is borne out by the fact that the lands and cultures of nearly all of the peoples listed at the end of this article are under threat. Notable exceptions are the Sakha and Komi peoples (two of the northern indigenous peoples of Russia), who now control their own autonomous republics within the Russian state, and the Canadian Inuit, who form a majority of the territory of Nunavut (created in 1999).

It is also sometimes argued that it is important for the human species as a whole to preserve a wide range of cultural diversity as possible, and that the protection of indigenous cultures is vital to this enterprise.

An example of this occurred in 2002 when the Government of Botswana expelled all the Kalahari Bushmen known as the San from their lands on which they had lived for at least twenty thousand years. President Festus Mogai has described the Bushmen as "stone age creatures" and a minister for local government, Margaret Nasha, likened public criticism of their eviction to criticism of the culling of elephants. In 2006, the Botswanan High Court ruled that the Bushmen had a right to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Read more about this topic:  Indigenous Peoples

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