List of indigenous peoples

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Indigenous people are "those ethnic groups that were indigenous to a territory prior to being incorporated into a national state, and who are politically and culturally separate from the majority ethnic identity of the state that they are a part of".[1] There are internationally recognized definitions of indigenous peoples, such as those of the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank.[2][3][4]

This is a partial list of the world's indigenous or aboriginal or native people, grouped by region and sub-region. Note that a particular group may warrant listing under more than one region, either because the group is distributed in more than one region (for example Inuit in North America and eastern Russia), or there may be some overlap of the regions themselves (i.e. the boundaries of each region are not clear, or some locations may commonly be associated with more than one region).


Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, and may consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.[5]

This historical continuity may consist of the continuation, for an extended period reaching into the present of one or more of the following factors:

  • Occupation of ancestral lands, or at least of part of them
  • Common ancestry with the original occupants of these lands
  • Culture in general, or in specific manifestations (such as religion, living under a tribal system, membership of an indigenous community, dress, means of livelihood, lifestyle, etc.)
  • Language (whether used as the only language, as mother-tongue, as the habitual means of communication at home or in the family, or as the main, preferred, habitual, general or normal language)
  • Residence in certain parts of the country, or in certain regions of the world
  • Other relevant factors.
  • On an individual basis, an indigenous person is one who belongs to these indigenous populations through self-identification as indigenous (group consciousness) and is recognized and accepted by these populations as one of its members (acceptance by the group). This preserves for these communities the sovereign right and power to decide who belongs to them, without external interference.[6]


African Great Lakes[edit]

Hadza people, who are indigenous to the African Great Lakes
A Maasai traditional dance.

Central Africa[edit]

Baka pygmy dancers in the East Province of Cameroon.
Batwa Pygmy with traditional bow and arrow

Horn of Africa[edit]

Somali women in traditional headresses
Tigrayan women in traditional attire
Wolayta chief
Berta people playing trumpets during a wedding ceremony

North Africa[edit]

Sanhaja Berber traditional dancers

Nile Valley[edit]

Southern Africa[edit]

19th century Zulu man wearing a warrior's garb
Sotho women wearing the traditional Seana Marena blanket.
Makua mother and child

West Africa[edit]



Middle East/West Asia[edit]

Marsh Arabs/Ma'dan poling a mashoof in the Mesopotamian Marshes
  • Northwest Semitic peoples
    • Arameans (Āramayē): Central and Western Syria, ancient land of the Aramaeans (Aram) in the Levant, an Aramaic-speaking people that descends from ancient Aramaeans. In recent years, there has been an attempt to revive Western Aramaic among Aramean Christians living in the Israeli village of Jish.
    • Canaanite peoples
      • Jews: [9]along with Samaritans, belong to the Israelite nation of the southern Levant, who are believed by archaeologists and historians to have branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatrous—and later monotheistic—religion centered on El/Yahweh,[10][11][12] one of the Ancient Canaanite deities. Following the Roman colonial occupation, destruction of Herod's Temple, and failed Jewish revolts, most Jews were either expelled, taken as slaves to Rome, or massacred,[13] although a small number of Jews managed to remain over the centuries despite persecution by the various conquerors of the region, including the Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, and the British. Additionally, a substantial number of Jews returned from diaspora during the 19th and 20th centuries (mainly under the Zionist movement), as well as after the modern State of Israel was established in 1948. This was coupled with the revival of Hebrew, the only Canaanite language still spoken today. DNA studies show that all major diaspora Jewish communities derive the majority of their ancestry from ancient Israelites.[14][15][16][17]
  • There are competing claims that Palestinian Arabs and Jews are indigenous to historic Palestine/the Land of Israel.[18][19][20] The argument entered the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the 1990s, with Palestinians claiming Indigenous status as a pre-existing population displaced by Jewish settlement, and currently constituting a minority in the State of Israel.[21] Israeli Jews have in turn claimed indigeneity based on historic ties to the region and disputed the authenticity of Palestinian claims.[22][23] In 2007, the Negev Bedouin were officially recognised as Indigenous peoples of Israel by the United Nations.[24] This has been criticised both by scholars associated with the Israeli state, who dispute the Bedouin's claim to indigeneity,[25] and those who argue that recognising just one group of Palestinians as indigenous risks undermining others' claims and "fetishising" nomadic cultures.[26]
Yazidi festival at Lalish
Baloch of Nimruz Province, Afghanistan


Traditional Adyghe clothing.

Siberia (North Asia)[edit]

Representation of a Chukchi family by Louis Choris (1816)
Buryat shaman of Olkhon, Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia.
Nenets child

Over 40 distinct peoples, each with their own language and culture in the Asiatic part of Russia (Siberia/North Asia).

Eurasian Steppe[edit]

South Asia[edit]

Kalash in traditional dress
Kodava men in traditional attire, India
An Indigenous Assamese woman of Assam
Veddha chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo, leader of the indigenous people Sri Lanka

Southeast Asia[edit]

Mainland Southeast Asia (Indochinese Peninsula)[edit]
A Wa woman carrying her child
Akha girl in Laos
Yi/Nuosu women
A Tai Dam lady
Maritime Southeast Asia (Malay Archipelago)[edit]
A Murut man (a member of one of the Dayak ethnicities) in Monsopiad Cultural Village, Kg. Kuai Kandazon, Penampang, Sabah, Borneo Island
Ati woman, the Philippines, 2007[30] The Negritos were the earliest inhabitants of Southeast Asia.[31]

East Asia[edit]

Western China[edit]
North China[edit]
South China[edit]
Miao (Hmong) girls in China
Bunun dancer


The question of indigeneity in Europe is a hotly debated topic, with many groups that most would not consider to be indigenous having fringe movements with claims of indigeneity, such as the Shetlanders and Orcadians.[33] The following list only includes groups generally considered to be indigenous.

Europe in general[edit]

Eastern Europe and the European Caucasus[edit]

Gagauz old and young people.
Mordvin women of Penza Oblast dressed in traditional costumes.

Northern and western Europe[edit]

Southern Europe[edit]


Americas is the supercontinent comprising North and South America, and associated islands.

List of peoples by geographical and ethnolinguistic grouping:

North America[edit]

North America includes all of the continent and islands east of the Bering Strait and north of the Isthmus of Panama; it includes Greenland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Central American and Caribbean countries. However a distinction can be made between a broader North America and a narrower Northern America and Middle America due to ethnic and cultural characteristics.


Two Inuit women in traditional amauti (packing parkas)


Pacific Northwest Coast[edit]

Northwest Plateau-Great Basin-California[edit]

Northwest Plateau[edit]
Great Basin[edit]
Washoe people tribe.jpg

Great Plains[edit]

Eastern Woodlands[edit]

Northeastern Woodlands[edit]
Southeastern Woodlands[edit]



Tzeltal dancers waiting to perform, San Cristobal.
Mam people.
Mayan family from Yucatán
Amuzgos in traditional dress.
Mazatec girls performing a dance in Huautla de Jimenez.
Huichol woman and child.


A Kuna woman in traditional dress.

West Indies[edit]

Portrait of the Kali'na exhibited at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris in 1892

The West Indies, or the Caribbean, generally includes the island chains of the Caribbean Sea.

South America[edit]

Emberá women
Bororo-Boe man from Mato Grosso at Brazil's Indigenous Games, 2007
Quechua woman and child in the Sacred Valley, Peru

South America generally includes all of the continent and islands south of the Isthmus of Panama.

Circum-Caribbean (Chibcha)[edit]



Eastern Highlands (Brazilian Highlands)[edit]


Central Andes[edit]

Southern Cone[edit]

Tierra del Fuego[edit]


Oceania includes most islands of the Pacific Ocean, New Guinea, New Zealand and the continent of Australia.

List of peoples by geographical and ethnolinguistic grouping:


Aboriginal farmers in Victoria, Australia, 1858

Indigenous Australians include Aboriginal Australians on the mainland and Tiwi Islands as well as Torres Strait Islander peoples from the Torres Strait Islands.

  • Aboriginal Australians include hundreds of groupings of people, defined by various overlapping characteristics such as language, culture and geography, which may include sub-groups. The Indigenous peoples of the island state of Tasmania and the Tiwi people (of the Tiwi Islands off the Northern Territory) are also Aboriginal peoples, who are genetically and culturally distinct from Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Torres Strait Islander peoples are culturally and linguistically Papuo-Austronesian, and the various peoples of the islands are of predominantly Melanesian descent. The Torres Strait Islands are part of the state of Queensland
  • Brinja People:[43] Bugelli-manji now called the Brinja Aboriginal People[44] from the South Coast of New South Wales. Clinical anthropologist at Bega hospital in 1966 showed three groups of Aboriginal people on the South Coast of New South Wales. The Brinja People were the central Group with the Walbunja People north of the Moruya River with sub-group at Broulee and Batemans Bay. To the South of the Brinja,[45] south of Corunna lake are the Tadera - manji, in the Bega district and Thauaira,  east of Malagoota Inlet.[46]



Melanesia generally includes New Guinea and other (far-)western Pacific islands from the Arafura Sea out to Fiji. The region is mostly inhabited by the Melanesian peoples.


Micronesia generally includes the various small island chains of the western and central Pacific. The region is mostly inhabited by the Micronesian peoples.


Samoan family

Polynesia includes New Zealand and the islands of the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The region is mostly inhabited by the Polynesian peoples.

Polynesian outliers


Circumpolar peoples is an umbrella term for the various indigenous peoples of the Arctic. List of peoples by ethnolinguistic grouping:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sanders, Douglas (1999). "Indigenous peoples: Issues of definition". International Journal of Cultural Property. 8 (1): 4–13. doi:10.1017/S0940739199770591.
  2. ^ "Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations". UN.
  3. ^ C169 - Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) (Report). ILO. 1989.
  4. ^ ESS7: Indigenous Peoples/Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities (PDF) (Report). World Bank. 2016.
  5. ^ Jose R. Martinez Cobo
  6. ^ Definition of indigenous peoples
  7. ^ Unrepresented Nations and People Organization | UNPO, Assyrians the Indigenous People of Iraq [1]
  8. ^ Sawahla & Dloomy (2007, pp. 425–433)
  9. ^ Williams, Victoria R. (2020-02-24). Indigenous Peoples: An Encyclopedia of Culture, History, and Threats to Survival [4 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-4408-6118-5.
  10. ^ Tubb, 1998. pg 13–14.
  11. ^ Mark Smith, in The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel, states "Despite the long regnant model that the Canaanites and Israelites were people of fundamentally different culture, archaeological data now casts doubt on this view. The material culture of the region exhibits numerous common points between Palestinians and Canaanites in the Iron I period (c. 1200–1000 BC). The record would suggest that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture. ... In short, Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature. Given the information available, one cannot maintain a radical cultural separation between Canaanites and Palestinians for the Iron I period." (pp. 6–7). Smith, Mark (2002) The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel (Eerdman's)
  12. ^ Rendsberg, Gary (2008). "Israel without the Bible". In Frederick E. Greenspahn. The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship. NYU Press, pp. 3–5
  13. ^ Josephus. War of the Jews 9:2.
  14. ^ "Jewish Genetics - DNA, genes, Jews, Ashkenazi".
  15. ^ Haber, Marc; Gauguier, Dominique; Youhanna, Sonia; Patterson, Nick; Moorjani, Priya; Botigué, Laura R; Platt, Daniel E; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth; Soria-Hernanz, David F; Wells, R. Spencer; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Comas, David; Zalloua, Pierre A (2013). "Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture". PLOS Genetics. 9 (2): e1003316. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003316. PMC 3585000. PMID 23468648.
  16. ^ Behar, Doron M.; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Metspalu, Mait; Metspalu, Ene; Rosset, Saharon; Parik, Jüri; Rootsi, Siiri; Chaubey, Gyaneshwer; Kutuev, Ildus; Yudkovsky, Guennady; Khusnutdinova, Elza K.; Balanovsky, Oleg; Semino, Ornella; Pereira, Luisa; Comas, David; Gurwitz, David; Bonne-Tamir, Batsheva; Parfitt, Tudor; Hammer, Michael F.; Skorecki, Karl; Villems, Richard (2010). "The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people". Nature. 466 (7303): 238–242. Bibcode:2010Natur.466..238B. doi:10.1038/nature09103. PMID 20531471. S2CID 4307824.
  17. ^ "Tracing the Roots of Jewishness". 2010-06-03.
  18. ^ Busbridge, Rachel (1 January 2018). "Israel-Palestine and the Settler Colonial 'Turn': From Interpretation to Decolonization". Theory, Culture & Society. 35 (1): 91–115. doi:10.1177/0263276416688544. ISSN 0263-2764. S2CID 151793639.
  19. ^ Ukashi, Ran (1 May 2018). "Zionism, Imperialism, and Indigeneity in Israel/Palestine: A Critical Analysis". Peace and Conflict Studies. 25 (1). doi:10.46743/1082-7307/2018.1442. ISSN 1082-7307.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Carole (14 April 2020). "Invoking the Indigenous, for and against Israel". Swimming against the Current. Academic Studies Press. pp. 298–318. doi:10.1515/9781644693087-019. ISBN 978-1-64469-308-7.
  21. ^ Troen, Ilan; Troen, Carol (2019). "Indigeneity". Israel Studies. 24 (2): 17–32. doi:10.2979/israelstudies.24.2.02. ISSN 1084-9513. JSTOR 10.2979/israelstudies.24.2.02.
  22. ^ Kattan, Victor. "'Invented' Palestinians, 'Indigenous' Jews: The Roots of Israel's Annexation Plan, and Why the World Must Stop Netanyahu, Before It's Too Late". Haaretz.
  23. ^ Pappe, Ilan (1 January 2018). "Indigeneity as Cultural Resistance: Notes on the Palestinian Struggle within Twenty-First-Century Israel". South Atlantic Quarterly. 117 (1): 157–178. doi:10.1215/00382876-4282082. ISSN 0038-2876.
  24. ^ Frantzman, Seth J.; Yahel, Havatzelet; Kark, Ruth (2012). "Contested Indigeneity: The Development of an Indigenous Discourse on the Bedouin of the Negev, Israel". Israel Studies. 17 (1): 78–104. doi:10.2979/israelstudies.17.1.78. ISSN 1527-201X. S2CID 143785060.
  25. ^ Yiftachel, Oren; Roded, Batya; Kedar, Alexandre (Sandy) (1 November 2016). "Between rights and denials: Bedouin indigeneity in the Negev/Naqab". Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. 48 (11): 2129–2161. doi:10.1177/0308518X16653404. ISSN 0308-518X. S2CID 147970455.
  26. ^ Tatour, Lana (26 November 2019). "The culturalisation of indigeneity: the Palestinian-Bedouin of the Naqab and indigenous rights". The International Journal of Human Rights. 23 (10): 1569–1593. doi:10.1080/13642987.2019.1609454. ISSN 1364-2987. S2CID 150663547.
  27. ^ The UN Refugee Agency | UNHCR, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples [2]
  28. ^ Department of Evolutionary Biology at University of Tartu Estonian Biocentre | Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation, Molecular Anthropology Group [3]
  29. ^ "Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia : Population, Spatial Distribution and Socio-Economic Condition" (PDF).
  30. ^ "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Philippines: Overview, 2007", UNHCR | Refworld.
  31. ^ Hanihara, T (1992). "Negritos, Australian Aborigines, and the proto-sundadont dental pattern: The basic populations in East Asia". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 88 (2): 183–96. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330880206. PMID 1605316.
  32. ^ Agpaoa, Joshua C. (2013). Design Motifs of the Northern Philippine Textiles.
  33. ^ [4]
  34. ^ Johansson, Peter (2016-02-05). "Indigenous self-determination in the Nordic countries: the Sami, and the Inuit of Greenland". In Short, Damien; Lennox, Corinne (eds.). Handbook of Indigenous Peoples' Rights. London: Routledge. pp. 424–442. ISBN 9781136313868.
  35. ^ Osherenko, Gail (April 1, 2001). "Indigenous rights in Russia: Is title to land essential for cultural survival?". Georgetown International Environmental Law Review. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011.
  36. ^ "Crofters fight for rights of indigenous people". 2008-04-19.
  37. ^ [5]
  38. ^ [6]
  39. ^ [7]
  40. ^ [8]
  41. ^ [9]
  42. ^ Rouse (1992)
  43. ^ MS_2303_warner (18 Aug 2021). "AIATSIS MS_2303_warner" (PDF).
  44. ^ Warner, Harry (18 Aug 2021). "Warner, H. (1966). Ethnography summary of the late Brinja-Yuin tribe of Tuross, N.S.W. Canberra: AIATSIS". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  45. ^ Zdanowicz, Cathy (18 Aug 2021). "Serendipitous discovery".
  46. ^ Howitt, Alfred William (18 Aug 2021). "Native Tribes of South-East Australia".