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Being Indigenous in Today’s World

Being Indigenous in Today’s World

By on Apr 30, 2018 in Blog |

Indigenous people, also known as first or native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original settlers of a certain region. These groups of people are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions of an early culture that is associated with a specific region.

However, not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted considerable elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given area or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigeous peoples do things a certain way and usually do not deviate from what they know.  Indigenous peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live, which is why it is interesting to think about how indigenous people live in today’s world.

Indigenous peoples are different

One of the most common misconceptions about indigenous peoples is that they are all the same. There is not only a vast amount of diversity among indigenous peoples, there is great diversity within each tribal community, just as there is in the larger society. Members of the Cherokee Nation are socially, economically, and culturally stratified. Several thousand Cherokee continue to speak the Cherokee language and live in Cherokee communities all over the United States. At the other end of the spectrum, there are enrolled tribal members who have never even been to visit the Cherokee Nation. Intermarriage has created an enrolled Cherokee membership that includes people with Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, and African American heritage. With so little accurate information about indigenous peoples available in schools, in books, films, or popular culture, it is no surprise that many people are not even aware of indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples in nature

Indigenous people are not the only people who understand the interconnectedness of all living things on earth. There are many thousands of people from different ethnic groups who care deeply about the environment and fight every day to protect the earth. The difference is that indigenous people have the benefit of being constantly reminded of their responsibilities to the land by stories and ceremonies. They remain close to the land, not only in the way that they live, but in their hearts and in the way they view the world. Protecting the environment is not an intellectual exercise; it is a sacred duty for them.

Everything is changing

Nothing is like it used to be back in the day. Today, not many people own their land and nothing is being taught about indigenous peoples in communities, and that’s just to name a few things. There is an ongoing battle for human and land rights in today’s economy and those indigenous peoples are not used to such things. The way that humans do business has even changed. Mostly, everything is done online nowadays, as there is online banking, shopping, and schooling. Indigenous peoples simply do better when they have control of their own lives, and even though things have changed for the better over the years, there is still much more that needs to be changed for everyone to be in complete control over their lives.

Indigenous peoples can adapt to change

Indigenous peoples are familiar with change and have proven time and time again that they can adapt to change. No matter where they go in the world, they hold onto a strong sense of tribal identity while fully interacting with and participating in the greater society around them. In the state of Oklahoma alone, there is an indigenous astronaut, two United States congressmen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and countless others who have made great contributions to their people, their state, and the world.

Indigenous always remain close to land
Indigenous always remain close to land

Final Thoughts

Indigenous peoples are groups of people that not only stick together, but they stick to life as they know it. Even though they can adapt to change, there’s still a lot that they need to get familiar with. I couldn’t imagine living one way years and years ago and then having to conform and live another way, completely leaving behind everything I’ve ever known. I am grateful to be alive during this day and age, because I really love and appreciate being free without having a community tell me how I can and cannot be. I’m also grateful for the internet and everything it has to offer. I couldn’t imagine living in a time period where I wasn’t able to chill out and watch movies on Netflix or play on Pokerstarscasino. Life just wouldn’t be the same for me. However, for those indigenous people that are living in today’s world, they’ve overcome many obstacles and adapted to many things, and I’m sure there will only be more changes come the future.