Lessons To Learn From Indigenous People

The word ‘Indi­gen­ous’ is widely used to describe the ori­gin­al inhab­it­ants of  a spe­cif­ic area or region. As many Indi­gen­ous cul­tures have a very dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ship with their ter­rit­or­ies from the West­ern notion of  land own­er­ship, ‘Indi­gen­ous’ can also describe the tra­di­tion­al cus­todi­ans of  the land and tri­bal and nomad­ic peoples. It also describes the First Nations peoples that exis­ted before col­on­iz­a­tion. Accord­ing to the UN stat­ist­ics, there are more than 370 mil­lion Indi­gen­ous peoples in 90 coun­tries.


The situ­ation of  Indi­gen­ous peoples in many parts of  the world con­tin­ues to be crit­ic­al. Indi­gen­ous peoples con­tin­ue to face sys­tem­ic dis­crim­in­a­tion and exclu­sion from polit­ic­al and eco­nom­ic power and they con­tin­ue to be overrep­res­en­ted among the poorest. They face racism and the erosion of  their tra­di­tion­al know­ledge and cul­tur­al expres­sions. They are dis­placed by wars and envir­on­ment­al dis­asters and their lands are being increas­ingly encroached upon for the extrac­tion of  nat­ur­al resources. Today, Indi­gen­ous’ land grabbing for min­ing by cor­por­a­tions and gov­ern­ments is increas­ing at an accel­er­at­ing rate, driv­en by an escal­at­ing glob­al demand for energy, metals and min­er­als.

indigenous people iamhiphop magazineDue to their inter­con­nec­ted rela­tion­ship with the land, many Indi­gen­ous peoples are at the fore­front of  cli­mate change. This is one of  the cruelest threats for the sur­viv­al of  Indi­gen­ous live­li­hoods because the Indi­gen­ous way of  life has tra­di­tion­ally cared for Nature in a mutu­ally enhan­cing way, suc­cess­fully safe­guard­ing some of  the world’s most crit­ic­al eco­sys­tems for mil­len­ni­al.

We in the indus­tri­al­ized and urb­an world have much to learn (and re-learn) from Indi­gen­ous per­spect­ives. We for­get that our way of  life is only 200 years old. Our young, mod­ern, glob­al­ized cul­ture has removed us from our source of  life — from Nature. The fact that Indi­gen­ous ancient tra­di­tions still exist after thou-sands of  years of  adapt­a­tion is testi­mony to their resi­li­ence. This stands starkly against the indus­tri­al sys­tem, which in just 200 years has rad­ic­ally under-mined the bio­sphere, cre­ated glob­al warm­ing, and is now col­lapsing into itself.

In the present con­text of  cli­mate instabil­ity, Indi­gen­ous tra­di­tions have the greatest abil­ity to adapt because they have an intim­ate rela­tion­ship and know­ledge of  Nature. In evol­u­tion-ary terms, a spe­cies’ sur­viv­al depends on adapt­ab­il­ity and diversity. If  we are to tackle our glob­al chal­lenges we must embrace cul­tur­al diversity, we must listen to, and learn from Indi­gen­ous teach­ings, and as inhab­it­ants of  a shared plan­et, we must work togeth­er for our col­lect­ive future.

Art­work by Shalak http://www.shalakattack.com/

indigenous people i am hip hop magazine


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