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Indigenous Peoples AG Spotlight: Global Indigenous Peoples

Each month throughout the year, we'll be spotlighting a SWE Affinity Group. We are excited to highlight SWE's Indigenous Peoples Affinity Group!
Indigenous Peoples Affinity Group

Indigenous Peoples, also known as Aboriginals, First Peoples, or Natives, are the first humans to establish permanent life in a specific region, live in permanent settlements or adopt a nomadic lifestyle. They are social and cultural groups with ancestral ties to our lands and natural resources, which are crucial to our identities, cultures, livelihoods, and well-being.

Some maintain a distinct language from the official language in which they reside. They speak over 4,000 of the world’s 7,000 languages, with over half of them at risk of disappearing by 2100. Many Indigenous peoples in the world have been lost or are nearing extinction due to eviction or relocation.

Do you know which groups live near you? Each of the major regions of the world has their own population. Below you can find some of them from Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.


Most people living in Africa can be categorized as Indigenous. However, few really identify as such. In Africa, the Indigenous identity is more frequently associated with the traditions of a certain population. Many of these individuals live as nomads.

Some of these Peoples are identified as Afar, Juhoansi, Chewa, Mandinka, Jola, and Dogon.


Compared to other parts of the world, the Indigenous peoples of the Americas most certainly had larger population losses throughout the colonial era. Some do not perceive themselves as Indigenous, and this search for identity has been the subject of several cultural and educational initiatives to restore their own roots.

Some of these Peoples are identified as Yucatec, Maleku, Ixil, Kiche, Pogomchi’, Tz’utuiil, Kaqchikel, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Toba, Quichua, Cocama, Huaorani, and Aymara.


The continent is home to the world’s biggest Indigenous population. About 70% of the total Indigenous population is distributed across the whole continent of Asia. Indonesia and India are home to some of the world’s highest Indigenous population densities.

Some of these peoples are identified as Lahu, Hmong, Akha, wa, Lisu, Palaung, Mien, Shan, Chenchu, Koya, Samantha, Baiga, Bhil, and Bedouins.


The continent with the lowest numbers of Indigenous peoples worldwide is Europe. The northern and eastern parts of this continent are home to the Sami people of Scandinavia, the Circassians of Russia and the Caucasus, the Basques of France and Spain, and the Crimean Tatars of Crimea.


The Aboriginal Australians are one of Oceania’s major Indigenous peoples. These people are members of several distinct tribes, all of which have historically faced discriminatory practices from Australia’s government.

Significant Indigenous communities can also be found on many of the islands in this region, such as the Hmong people.

Are we missing yours or one that you know? Share it with us on our Facebook Group. Let’s celebrate together! We are past, present, and future. Indigenous peoples thrive in the world and within SWE.

Don’t miss the latest news from the Indigenous Peoples Affinity Group! Opt into the group email list by logging into your member portal and updating your Communication Preferences.



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