LatinaLista — The United Nations estimates that there are approximately 400 million Indigenous people worldwide, making up more than 5,000 distinct tribes. Combined, the Indigenous are one of the largest minority groups in the world, spanning over 90 countries.
First Peoples Worldwide reports that while Indigenous Peoples total only about 6 percent of the world’s population, they represent 90 percent of the cultural diversity. Not to mention that Indigenous Peoples hold “20 percent of the earth’s land mass which contains 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity.”
As Wikipedia describes:
…Indigenous are generally defined as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and to their cultural or historical distinctiveness from politically dominant populations.
As a result of their unique ties to their territories, the indigenous way of life has been threatened by numerous business conglomerates, both domestic and international, aimed at exploiting the land and/or the Indigenous for corporate profits.
To highlight the unique needs, challenges and accomplishments of the Indigenous, First People’s Worldwide launched the first-ever Proud to be Indigenous campaign to coincide with the convening of The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Among the many Indigenous peoples of the world, the Mayans of Guatemala are well known. Their presence and struggles in Guatemala have been spotlighted by the public recognition of one of their own — Rigoberto Menchu, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
In the featured video, several Mayan youth share their perspectives on what it means to be indigenous and their hopes for a better future for themselves and their people.