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Called Tribal Peoples, First Peoples, Native Peoples, Indigenous Peoples constitute about 5% of the world’s population, yet account for about 15% of the world’s poor.

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world, but about 70% of them live in Asia.

There is no universally accepted definition for “Indigenous,” though there are characteristics that tend to be common among Indigenous Peoples:

  • They tend to have small populations relative to the dominant culture of their country. However, in Bolivia and Guatemala Indigenous people make up more than half the population. 
  • They usually have (or had) their own language. Today, Indigenous people speak some 4,000 languages.
  • They have distinctive cultural traditions that are still practiced.
  • They have (or had) their own land and territory, to which they are tied in myriad ways. 
  • They self-identify as Indigenous.
  • Examples of Indigenous Peoples include the Inuit of the Arctic, Native Americans, hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, traditional pastoralists like the Maasai in East Africa, and tribal peoples in the Philippines.

Indigenous Peoples and the Environment

Indigenous Peoples are often thought of as the primary stewards of the planet’s biological resources. Their ways of life and cosmovisions have contributed to the protection of the natural environment on which they depend on.  It is no coincidence that when the World Wildlife Fund listed the top 200 areas with the highest and most threatened biodiversity, they found that 95 percent are on Indigenous territories.

Indigenous communities and the environments they maintain are increasingly under assault from mining, oil, dam building, logging, and agro-industrial projects.

Indigenous communities resist this invasion with tremendous courage and skill, but their protests are too often ignored by governments and corporations.

Together, We Can Support Indigenous Communities in Nepal

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Cultural Survival is not a disaster relief organization. We work towards a world in which the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Bikalpa Gyan Kedra, an organization in Nepal founded by our Board Member Stella Tamang offers alternative educational opportunities to Indigenous girls and is not a disaster relief organization either, but since the earthquake they have been acting as a shelter to 300 local families. They need basic items like drinking water and food.

Radio Kairan in Kubu-Kasthali is asking for help with purchasing a power generator to get his community radio station back up and running to provide an essential means of communication for villagers on relief efforts as well as to power his community. Cost for this generator would be about $2,500

We have set up a special fund to assist our Indigenous contacts in Nepal. With your help, we can provide some limited assistance to our friends in desperate need.

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