Why do we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People?

Although there are 68 indigenous peoples in Mexico, they still constitute one of the most vulnerable groups
Why do we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People?
According to the UN, indigenous people are greatly diverse, with over 5,000 different ethnic groups in 90 countries speaking 7,000 different languages - Photo: Juan José Estrada Serafín/CUARTOSCURO.COM
09/08/2018
15:41
Newsroom
Mexico City
Néstor Ramírez
-A +A

In 1994, the United Nations (UN) decided to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People every year, on August 9, with the purpose of acknowledging and promoting the value of cultural diversity and alternative ways of social organization among the world’s indigenous people, according to the UN’s resolution on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

The date was chosen to commemorate August 9th, 1982, when the first reunion of the Indigenous People Working Group for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights was held.

According to the UN, indigenous people are greatly diverse, with over 5,000 different ethnic groups in 90 countries speaking 7,000 different languages.

In his book on the “Indigenous People of Mexico," Federico Navarrete Linares states that indigenous peoples are those where people live and work alongside their neighbors, speak the same language, celebrate the same rituals and parties, and keep similar customs and ideals alive.

Indigenous people account for over 5% of the world population, though they constitute one of the most vulnerable groups.

There are 68 indigenous peoples in Mexico. Some of the most important ethno-linguistic groups are náhuatl, otomí, zapotec, totonaca, purépecha, and triqui.

The náhuatl group is the largest in number, with 2,445,969 people, followed by the mayan group, with 1,475,575 people.

On this special occasion, Mexico’s National Commission for the Development of Indigenous People is promoting its online database, showing the number of indigenous people, their location and description, as well as details on each of the indigenous languages in the country. You may consult the Spanish website here.
 

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