"Mankind must be a steward of the Earth - Caretakers for all that dwells upon it."

Indigenous Peoples Literature          
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Indigenous Peoples are a significant and important portion of humanity. Their heritage, their ways of life, their stewardship of this planet, and their cosmological insights are an invaluable treasure house for us all.

The word Indigenous has many meanings. In every region of the world, many different cultural groups live together and interact, but not all of these groups are considered indigenous or inherent to their particular geographic area. In fact, it is only in the face of a collective or shared sense of identity that the term indigenous peoples has been internationally recognized.

Indigenous Peoples live in every region of the world. They live in climates ranging from Arctic cold to Amazon heat, and often claim a deep connection to their lands and natural environments. For many indigenous peoples, the natural world is a valued source of food, health, spirituality and identity. Land is both a critical resource that sustains life and a major cause of struggle and even death.

Each indigenous culture is distinct and unique. While many peoples may express similar worldviews and a common indigenous identity, their cultures are nonetheless based on different histories, environments, and creative spirits.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the inherent dignity, equality, and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. The rights of all members of indigenous populations are included in this declaration. However, Indigenous Peoples also have rights as distinct cultural groups or nations.                             

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." - Chief Seattle      
       
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Who are Indigenous Peoples?

It is estimated that there are more than 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Spread across the world from the Arctic to the South Pacific- Best Pages, they are the descendants - according to a common definition - of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later became dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means.


"Treat this earth well: it is not a present from your parents, it is on loan to your children. The people who enrich their minds are those who keep their history on the leaves of memory. Not to be aware of the past is to be eternally a child, but for those of us who forget the past will be condemned to repeat it."


Rediscovering What Has Always Been There

Where It All Began