Native Peoples

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Native Peoples are the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. More than 370 million people across 70 countries worldwide identify as native peoples. They belong to more than 5,000 different groups, and speak more than 4,000 languages.

Native peoples have their own unique customs and cultures, and often face difficult realities such as having their land taken away, and being treated as second-class citizens. Native peoples are the descendants of those who were there before the others who now constitute the majority and dominant society. They are defined in part by their ancestry, partly by the particular traits that differentiate them from those who arrived later, such as their language and ways of life, and partly by their own perception of themselves.


Other ways to refer to native peoples are Aboriginal, First Peoples and Indigenous Peoples. When you want to describe native people from Australia, you should use Aboriginal, with a capital “A.”

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