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Indigenous People

Indigenous people are those members of a cultural group with historic ties to a particular region that predates the arrival of European immigrants. According to the United Nations, there are more than 400 million indigenous people worldwide, comprising more than 5000 different tribes. Indigenous PeopleExamples of indigenous peoples are Native Americans, Australian aborigines, and the Yanamamo people of Brazil.

Indigenous people have been, and continue to be, subject to exploitation, marginalization, and oppression by colonial powers. The experience of the numerous Native American tribes in North America, witnessed by corrupt land deals, genocide, and restriction to poor reservation, not only bears out this historical reality, but was replicated in many other parts of the globe. While many issued faced by indigenous people are locale specific, other issues, including language preservation, poor health, and declining population, are common to most all peoples greatly affected by contact with colonizing powers.

Surprisingly, there are still several tribes of indigenous people who remain largely outside of contact with the modern world. Such “lost tribes” largely exist in South America and in various Pacific islands. These include the Sentinelese and the Jarawa, who live in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and actively reject contact with the outside world. There are also other uncontacted groups of indigenous people in the Amazon.

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