Today is the United Nations (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
Indigenous populations are those who are native to a particular place, who practise ‘unique traditions’ and ‘retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.’ (UN)
There are around 370 million people in more than 70 countries worldwide who define themselves as indigenous. Europeana holds both historical and contemporary content relating to indigenous heritage from the world over.
In Europeana, you can also find a huge selection of music from record label Indigenous Australia and a 2011 podcast by Living Planet including an article about indigenous Canadians resisting an oil pipeline. For television documentary footage about the destruction of indigenous tribes, watch Televisio de Catalunya’s Conservation for Survival broadcast from 2008.
For some indigenous people, tourism is becoming part of their everyday lives. This academic thesis looks at how the Sami tribe of northern Europe are contributing to Swedish tourism, and the resultant benefits and dangers to their traditions and lifestyles.
The first International Day of the World’s Indigenous People took place in 1995 as part of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004). In 2004, the UN General Assembly proclaimed a second International Decade (2005-2015), with the theme of ‘A Decade for Action and Dignity.’ The focus of this year’s International Day is ‘Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices.’
For more on this topic, follow the #UNIndigenousDay hashtag on Twitter.
Nenet child with fur clothes for protection against extreme cold.
A female figure of the Sea Dayaks people of Borneo wearing spiral corsets. Traditionally, rings are added to a girl’s corset according to her age and family’s wealth.
Bomvana Dwelia ready for the skins, Bomvanalang. The Bomvana are a clan of the Xhosa people, South Africa.
Nenet tribal people, Siberia. The Nenet are Arctic reindeer herders who move their reindeer a thousand kilometres from summer to winter pastures each year, facing temperatures of -50C.
Native American man and woman.
Peace-making between the Baran and Batang Kayan tribes, Borneo.
All images from the Wellcome Library and licensed as (CC BY-NC 2.0)