International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

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2023 Date9 August 2023
2024 Date9 August 2024

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is an observance that seeks to honour the diverse cultures, histories, and rights of indigenous communities around the world. The day aims to raise awareness of the unique issues faced by indigenous people, such as socio-economic marginalisation, environmental degradation, and the erosion of their cultures and traditions. The observance provides a platform for indigenous voices to be heard, fostering dialogue and understanding across cultures while promoting their rights as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. It serves as an important reminder for countries like the United Kingdom, which has a long history of shaping global trajectories, from colonisation to more recent international trade agreements. The United Kingdom has a responsibility to acknowledge the impact of its past actions on indigenous peoples and to support them in their ongoing struggle for self-determination, land rights, and cultural preservation. Participating in this observance also offers an opportunity for people in the UK to learn from the rich cultural heritage of these communities and their invaluable contributions to the tapestry of human diversity.

In the United Kingdom, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is often marked by various activities and events aimed at honouring and sharing indigenous knowledge and expressions. This may include cultural exhibitions, film screenings, panel discussions, and educational programs that help to raise awareness of the rights, concerns, and resilience of indigenous peoples across the globe. The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples takes place annually on 9th August, encouraging people around the world to join in supporting the rights and heritage of these communities.

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Facts about Indigenous People

  • Indigenous languages are dying at an alarming rate. UNESCO warns that at least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.
  • Indigenous peoples often have lower life expectancies than the general population in their countries due to higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and alcohol addiction, often stemming from stress, poor sanitation, malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and medical care.
  • Despite their historical ties, Indigenous peoples have legal ownership of only about 10% of the world’s lands. Land rights are a major issue for indigenous peoples, as many of their difficulties are directly connected to their displacement from their ancestral lands.
  • The Celts originated in central Europe and migrated to the British Isles around the 7th century BC.
  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on population survey figures from 2019, people from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 14.4% of the United Kingdom.

Top things to do in the UK for this observance

  • Donate to Survival International. All funds donated are put towards the survival and protection of indigenous peoples rights. They help to defend their lands and lives and help them determine their own future.
  • Watch the official UN International Day of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples webcast. It is hosted in the ECOSOC Chamber at the UN headquarters and you can watch it online.
  • Research and learn about indigenous peoples from around the world, including the Sami people of Northern Europe, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, or Native American tribes.
  • Visit the Wellcome Collection in London and explore their collection on Indigenous Cultures and Health.

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