Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Indigenous Peoples Day 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Members of the agro-pastoralist community of Awash Fentale, in the Afar Region in Awash, Ethiopia. Credit: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UN Photo/Rick Bajornas. 

There are at least 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies within which they live.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on August 9th, in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982. The General Assembly established the International Day in December 1994.

Villagers of Okau in Wely Municipality meet with Francisco Luktun (in white shirt), Magistrate of Weloy, and Francis Defngin (left corner), Assistant Anthropologist of Yap District. The large doughnut-shaped stone money is a mark of village prestige.  UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata. Photographed in 1969.

Since 1968, The Leakey Foundation has supported research about traditional lifeways of indigenous people around the world. Today, we mark #IndigenousPeoplesDay to bring attention to their unique cultures and languages, and to the challenges they face. Click here to read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Click here to learn more about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

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