"Indigenous peoples have the right of selfdetermination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development"

Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenouse Peoples, Article 3

Who are Indigenous Peoples?

People who inhabited a land before it was conquered by colonial societies and who consider themselves distinct from the societies currently governing those territories are called Indigenous Peoples.

As defined by the United Nations Special Rapporteur to the SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimaination and Protection of Minorities, Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are

"those which having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their contiued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions legal systems." (Martinez-Cobo, 1984)