Are there any natives left?
That depends on your definition of “native,” as many of the plants and even some of the animals which we think of as “American”, for example, actually were brought over from other continents!
And humans have moved about the planet from place to place so much that it is difficult to say who is “native” to any given area.
Google defines indigenous people as those “having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant.”
Wikipedia does not put emphasis on rights, but more on self-declared “identification”. It defines indigenous peoples as “ethnic groups who are descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.” Wikipedia maintains a very interesting List of indigenous peoples.
Here’s a map and an extended definition found on a site I recommend for further understanding, Cultural Survival:
You can see by looking at the map above, just how many indigenous groups there are, throughout the world! Have you heard of the Māori in New Zealand, the Quechua of Peru, or the San of southern Africa? These are the ones I am most personally familiar with. What names do you recognize?
More on this topic:
First Peoples Worldwide
United Nations on Indigenous Peoples
The World Bank: Indigenous Peoples
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
Indigenous Peoples Literature
Note: the last 3 books, all by National Geographic, appear to be basically the same text, but updated from 2001 to 2008 to 2016. I am so curious how the subject has changed over the 15 years covered! I wish I could afford all 3, but I only own the first — and it’s in storage up in Michigan, lol! 😛
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