Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples ornative peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, usually having adopted substantial elements of a colonising culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabitedclimate zone and continent of the world.
Since indigenous peoples are often faced with threats to their sovereignty, economic well-being and their access to the resources on which their cultures depend, political rights have been set forth in international law by international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP) to guide member-state national policies to the collective rights of indigenous people, such as culture, identity, language and access to employment, health, education and natural resources. Estimates put the total population of indigenous peoples from 220 million to 350 million.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on 9 August each year.
An ethnic group, or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, society,culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland,language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual,cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance.
Ethnic groups, derived from the same historical founder population, often continue to speak related languages and share a similar gene pool. By way oflanguage shift, acculturation, adoption and religious conversion, it is sometimes possible for individuals or groups to leave one ethnic group and become part of another (except for ethnic groups emphasizing homogeneity orracial purity as a key membership criterion).
Ethnicity is often used synonymously with ambiguous terms such as nation orpeople. In English, it can also have the connotation of something exotic (cf. “ethnic restaurant”, etc.), generally related to cultures of more recent immigrants, who arrived after the dominant population of an area was established.
The largest ethnic groups in modern times comprise hundreds of millions of individuals (Han Chinese being the largest), while the smallest are limited to a few dozen individuals (numerous indigenous peoples worldwide). Larger ethnic groups may be subdivided into smaller sub-groups known variously as tribes orclans, which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due toendogamy or physical isolation from the parent group. Conversely, formerly separate ethnicities can merge to form a pan-ethnicity, and may eventuallymerge into one single ethnicity. Whether through division or amalgamation, the formation of a separate ethnic identity is referred to as ethnogenesis.
A tribe is viewed developmentally, economically, and/or historically, as a social group existing outside of or before the development of states. A tribe is a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who are largely self-sufficient, and not integrated into the national society. It is perhaps the term most readily understood and used by the general public to describe such communities. Stephen Corry defines tribal people as those who “have followed ways of life for many generations that are largely self-sufficient, and are clearly different from the mainstream and dominant society”. This definition, however, would not apply to countries in the Middle East such asIraq and Yemen, South Asia such as Afghanistan and many African countries such as South Sudan, where the entire population is a member of one tribe or another, and tribalism itself is dominant and mainstream.
There are an estimated one hundred and fifty million tribal individuals worldwide, constituting around forty percent of indigenous individuals. Although nearly all tribal people are indigenous, some are not indigenous to the areas where they now live.
The distinction between tribal and indigenous is important because tribal peoples have a special status acknowledged in international law. They often face particular issues in addition to those faced by the wider category of indigenous peoples.
Many people used the term “tribal society” to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of social, especially familial, descent groups (see clan and kinship). A customary tribe in these terms is a face-to-face community, relatively bound by kinship relations, reciprocal exchange, and strong ties to place.
“Tribe” is a contested term due to its roots of being defined by outsiders during the period of colonialism. The word has no shared referent, whether in political form, kinship relations or shared culture. Some argue that it conveys a negative connotation of a timeless unchanging past. To avoid these implications, some have chosen to use the terms “ethnic group” or “nation” instead.
In some places, such as India and North America, tribes are polities that have been granted legal recognition and limited autonomy by the national government.
The Basor weaving bamboo baskets in a 1916 book. The Basor are a Scheduled caste found in the state ofUttar Pradesh in India.
Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which often includes an occupation, status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion. Although caste systems exist in various regions, its paradigmatic ethnographic example is the division of Indian society into rigid social groups, with roots in India’s ancient history and persisting until today. However, the economic significance of the caste system in India has been declining as a result of urbanization and affirmative action programs. A subject of much scholarship by sociologists and anthropologists, the Indian caste system is sometimes used as an analogical basis for the study of caste-like social divisions existing outside India. In biology, the term is applied to role stratification in eusocialanimals like ants and termites, though the analogy is imperfect as these also involve extremely stratified reproduction.
Race (biology), an informal taxonomic classification within a species, generally within a sub-species
Race (human categorization), classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, ancestry, genetics or social relations
Race, uncommon alternative term for breed, a classification of domesticated fauna and sometimes flora
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship anddescent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. Clans in indigenous societies tend to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. Clans preceded more centralized forms of community organization and government, and exist in every country. Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show they are an independent clan. The kinship-based bonds may also have a symbolic ancestor, whereby the clan shares a “stipulated” common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan’s unity. When this “ancestor” is non-human, it is referred to as a totem, which is frequently an animal.
The word clan is derived from the Gaelic clann meaning “children” or “progeny”; it is not from the word for “family” in either Irish or Scottish Gaelic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was introduced into English in around 1425, as a label for the nature of the society of theScottish Highlands.
Minority government, formed when a political party does not have a majority of overall seats in parliament
Minority leader, in American politics, the floor leader of the second largest caucus in a legislative body
Minor (law), a person under a certain age, usually the age of majority
Age of majority, the threshold of adulthood as recognized or declared in law
Legal age, age at which a person may legally engage in a certain activity
Minority group, a category of people differentiated from the social majority (e.g. ethnic minority)
Sexual minority, a group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of society
Nationality is a legal relationship between an individual person and a state.Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state. What these rights and duties are varies from state to state.
By custom and international conventions, it is the right of each state to determine who its nationals are. Such determinations are part of nationality law. In some cases, determinations of nationality are also governed by public international law—for example, by treaties on statelessness and the European Convention on Nationality.
Nationality differs technically and legally from citizenship, which is a different legal relationship between a person and a country. The noun national can include both citizens and non-citizens. The most common distinguishing feature of citizenship is that citizens have the right to participate in the political life of the state, such as by voting or standing for election. However, in most modern countries all nationals are citizens of the state, and full citizens are always nationals of the state.
In English and some other languages, the word nationality rather than ethnicity, is often used to refer to an ethnic group (a group of people who share a common ethnic identity, language, culture, descent, history, and so forth). This meaning of nationality is not defined by political borders or passport ownership and includes nations that lack an independent state (such as the Arameans,Scots, Welsh, English, Basques, Catalans, Kurds, Kabyles, Baloch, Berbers,Bosniaks, Kashmiris, Palestinians, Sindhi, Tamils, Hmong, Inuit, Copts, Māori,Sikhs, Wakhi and Székelys).
Individuals may also be considered nationals of groups with autonomous statusthat have ceded some power to a larger government.
A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. A nation is distinct from a people, and is more abstract, and more overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines a nation as:
A people, or aggregation of men, existing in the form of an organized jural society, usually inhabiting a distinct portion of the earth, speaking the same language, using the same customs, possessing historic continuity, and distinguished from other like groups by their racial origin and characteristics, and generally, but not necessarily, living under the same government and sovereignty.
Ernest Renan’s What is a Nation? (1882) declares that “race is confused with nation and a sovereignty analogous to that of really existing peoples is attributed to ethnographic or, rather linguistic groups”, and “The truth is that there is no pure race and that to make politics depend upon ethnographic analysis is to surrender it to a chimera”, echoing a sentiment of civic nationalism. He also claims that a nation is not formed on the basis of dynasty, language, religion, geography, or shared interests. Rather, “A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things, which in truth are but one, constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One lies in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form”, emphasizing the democratic and historical aspects of what constitutes a nation, although, “Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation”. “A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity”, which he said is reaffirmed in a “daily plebiscite”.
The nation has been described by Benedict Anderson as an “imagined community” and by Paul James as an “abstract community”. It is an imagined community in the sense that the material conditions exist for imagining extended and shared connections. It is an abstract community in the sense that it is objectively impersonal, even if each individual in the nation experiences him or herself as subjectively part of an embodied unity with others. For the most part, members of a nation remain strangers to each other and will never likely meet. Hence the phrase, “a nation of strangers” used by such writers as Vance Packard.