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Indigenous Peoples

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African Ethnic Groups Do They Need Recognition? Many sovereign countries such as the United s of America have long been questioned for the system by which it built its supremacy. The morals of its freedom may largely be a myth but it is not an isolated case. The moralistic myth or its own independence is the same delusion other countries have evangelized races and countries in order to take their land and identities away. Africa is one such case. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Africa that trace their history through hundreds of years before people from the West started coming to conquer them.

It is also this roots that makes the term Indigenous Peoples, not just ambivalent, but highly paradoxical. Definition of Indigenous Peoples The term Indigenous Peoples has been a subject of much debate but mainstream understanding indicates that people who lived in an area before the conquerors arrive are indigenous. This understanding, however, is muddled with confusion. Indians, for example, were in Louisiana before the arrival of white Americans but ask any American and they would claim original ownership of the land.

A further understanding would most likely present two concepts: 1) The First People pertains to the original settlers of a country or area. They are also often called ethnic group or aborigines. 2) Cultural Difference is also used as a major differentiating point between who is indigenous and who is not. Languages, religion or spiritual belief, and socio-economic structure define who is indigenous to the culture In a bid to have a universal understanding of indigenous peoples, a defition was developed by Jose Martinez Cobo in the Special Rapporteur on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations.

This was, for a time, accepted internationally (Sanders 214): "Indigenous populations are composed of the existing descendants of the peoples who inhabited the present territory of a country wholly or partially at the time when persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived there from other parts of the world, overcame them, by conquest, settlement or other means, reduced them to a non-dominant or colonial condition; who today live more in conformity with their particular social, economic and cultural customs and traditions than with the institutions of the country of which they now form part, under a state structure which incorporates mainly national, social and cultural characteristics of other segments of the population which are predominant. " However, the definition resulted to many questions and challenged many political, cultural, and social beliefs.

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