Indigenous People's Day

Posted on 09 August 2014

"We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be respected, not to be victims of intolerance and racism." - Rigoberta Menchu Tum
 
Indigenous peoples have contributed their own unique visions of the world to humanity. Every culture deserves respect, as each represents a specific human adaptation, an original response to problems, to a particular history, and a specific environment. Cultures are a treasure trove of ways of living in the world, and the loss of a culture, because of oppression and other global forces engulfing it, is a great loss for humanity.
 
Today, on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the world to "recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world.” 
 

According to the UN, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries across the globe, who constitute 15 per cent of the world’s poor and about one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.

President of the General Assembly, John Ashe, noted that despite progress made in securing indigenous peoples’ rights over the past two decades, saying that “there is still a long way to go in the journey towards the concerted and decisive action. The historical marginalization of indigenous peoples is still an unfortunate reality in today’s world and in many places, daunting obstacles are a part of daily life."

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