Who are indigenous peoples?
Indigenous peoples remain amongst the most underserved and persecuted groups in the world. According to the United Nations, there are nearly 400 million indigenous people worldwide, larger than the population of the United States.
How do we define indigenous?
There is no uniform definition of indigenous. Due to the wide variance of indigenous groups worldwide, we defer to determinations made by individual groups we work with. It is not up to us to decide who is or is not indigenous, but rather help those in need of assistance.
Major Indigenous Issues
The history of indigenous populations has been defined by abuse and discrimination. Indigenous groups suffer high rates of poverty, health issues, and displacement. They have historically and systematically been denied many basic rights, creating the majority of the problems they face today. They are often overlooked in dealings of the land they live on, as well as social programs aimed at alleviating poverty and health concerns. Lack of indigenous state representation, in combination with the vast amount of resources located on indigenous lands, leaves them vulnerable to mining and other groups that physically strip their access to land.
How can I help?
At CISD, we advocate for the rights on indigenous groups, who are often left voiceless in government. We also provide assistance to indigenous groups in areas where they are overlooked by local governments and aid agencies. We recognize that there is a proclivity to ignore indigenous cultural independence in international aid. Our assistance is always explicitly solicited by the populations we service. We exclusively work with indigenous organizations, as opposed to going through other NGOs and groups. We try to ensure that our work can sustainably be run by the groups with whom we work. Our projects are about helping the groups we work with, not our own organization.
*Photo courtesy of USAID