List of indigenous peoples

Updated: 2015-11-26T10:45Z
Main article: Indigenous peoples

This is a partial list of the world's indigenous / aboriginal / native peoples. Indigenous peoples are any ethnic group of peoples who are considered to fall under one of the internationally recognized definitions of Indigenous peoples, such as United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank, i.e. "those ethnic groups that were indigenous to a territory prior to being incorporated into a national state, and who are politically and culturally separate from the majority ethnic identity of the state that they are a part of".[1]

Note that this is a listing of peoples, groups and communities. Many of the names are externally imposed, and are not those the people identify within their cultures. As John Trudell observed, "They change our name and treat us the same." Basic to the unethical treatment of indigenous peoples is an insistence that the original inhabitants of the land are not permitted to name themselves. Many tribal groups have reasserted their traditional self-identifying names in recent times,[2] in a process of geographical renaming where "The place-name changes herald a new era, in which Aboriginal people have increasing control over the right to name and govern their homelands."[3]

This list is grouped by region, and sub-region. Note that a particular group may warrant listing under more than one region, either because the group is distributed in more than one region (example: Inuit in North America and eastern Russia), or there may be some overlap of the regions themselves (that is, the boundaries of each region are not always clear and some locations may commonly be associated with more than one region).


Circumpolar peoples is an umbrella term for the various indigenous peoples of the Arctic. List of peoples by ethnolinguistic grouping:

Eastern Hemisphere

Eastern Hemisphere, from a physical geography point of view, comprises Afro-Eurasia, the continents of Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, the region of Oceania, and associated islands.


Afro-Eurasia is the supercontinent comprising the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia, and associated islands.


The continent of Africa, including associated islands such as Madagascar.

North Africa
Shilha Berbers in Morocco
A Nubian woman circa 1900

North Africa generally includes African countries with borders on the Mediterranean and northern Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean, bounded largely by the Sahara Desert to the south. Generally includes lands and countries north of the Sahara Desert. Due to ethnic, cultural and climatic characteristics, among others, it is a different region of the African continent, having close ties to Southwest Asia (Middle East).

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa includes the lands and African countries south of the Sahara desert. It is the biggest part of the African continent and has its own ethnic and cultural characteristics.

Central Africa
Batwa Pygmy with traditional bow and arrow

Central Africa generally includes the lands mainly of the Congo River basin, south of the Sahara and west of the East African Rift.

East Africa
Hadza people, who are indigenous to East Africa

East Africa generally includes the lands from the east of the East African Rift to the Indian Ocean coast.

West Africa

West Africa generally includes the region bounded by the Sahara to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

Southern Africa
San people, who are indigenous to Southern Africa.

Southern Africa generally includes lands from the Cape of Good Hope northwards to the borders of Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania, and islands such as Madagascar.


The supercontinent of Eurasia includes both the continents of Asia and Europe.


The continent of Asia including: the Asia Minor, south of the Caucasus Mountains, the West Asia to continental Eastern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, North Asia east of the Ural Mountains, Eastern Asia, continental South-East Asia and archipelagic regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans bordering the Australian continental shelf.

North Asia
Nenets child
Representation of a Chukchi family by Louis Choris (1816)
Shaman of Olkhon, Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia.

North Asia generally includes the Russian Far East and the northern and eastern parts of Siberia.

Central Asia

Central Asia generally includes the landlocked region east of the Caspian Sea, south of the Russian Taiga, to the Himalayas, and extending eastwards to Mongolia and the western Chinese provinces and autonomous regions.

East Asia
Miao girls in China

East Asia generally includes the People's Republic of China, the Korean Peninsula, and the associated Pacific islands, principally Japan and Taiwan.

South Asia/Indian Subcontinent
An old Munda man, Dinajpur
A tribal woman of Assam
Veddha chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo, leader of the indigenous people Sri Lanka
Kodava men in traditional attire, India
An Adivasi woman from the Kutia Kondh tribal group in Odisha, India

South Asia generally includes the Indian subcontinental region, adjacent areas, and related islands of the Indian Ocean.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia generally includes the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia.

Ati woman, the Philippines, 2007[4] The Negritos were the earliest inhabitants of Southeast Asia.[5]
Akha girl in Laos

Mainland Southeast Asia

Maritime Southeast Asia
Western Asia/Southwest Asia
Baloch of Nimruz Province, Afghanistan
Marsh Arabs/Ma'dan poling a mashoof

Western Asia or Southwest Asia (also known as the Middle East) includes the region of the Levant, the Dead Sea Transform, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor (Anatolia), the Caucasus region, the Iranian Plateau and the Arabian Peninsula.

Basques in a festival.
Galician bagpipers in New York.
Faroese folk dancers, some in national costumes.
Kashubian regional dress
Mordvin women of Penza Oblast dressed in traditional costumes.

The continent of Europe generally refers to the mass of the Eurasian peninsula westwards of the Ural Mountains, the islands of the northern area of the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern North Atlantic Ocean.


Oceania includes most islands of the Pacific Ocean, New Guinea and the continent of Australia.


Aboriginal farmers in Victoria, Australia, 1858

Australia includes the continental landmass, and associated islands.



Melanesia generally includes New Guinea and other (far-)western Pacific islands from the Arafura Sea out to Fiji. The region is mostly inhabited by the Melanesian peoples.


Micronesia generally includes the various small island chains of the western and central Pacific. The region is mostly inhabited by the Micronesian peoples.


Polynesia generally includes New Zealand and the islands of the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The region is mostly inhabited by the Polynesian peoples.

Western Hemisphere

Western Hemisphere, from a physical geography point of view, comprises the Americas, the continents of North America, South America, and associated islands.


The Americas is the supercontinent comprising the continents of North America and South America, and associated islands.

North America

North America includes all of the continent and islands east of the Bering Strait and north of the Isthmus of Panama; it includes Greenland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Central American and Caribbean countries. However a distinction can be made between a broader North America and a narrower Northern America due to ethnic and cultural characteristics.

Northern America
Inupiat woman, Alaska, circa 1907

Northern America generally includes Canada, the United States and Greenland.

Middle America

Middle America generally includes the countries of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

The Caribbean
Portrait of the Kali'na exhibited at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris in 1892

The Caribbean, or West Indies, generally includes the island chains of the Caribbean.

Central America
Mam people.
A Kuna woman in traditional dress.

Central America generally includes the countries of the isthmus connecting North and South Americas: Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It can be included in the broader region of Middle America or the Mesoamerica.

Amuzgos in traditional dress.
Huichol woman and child.
Mazatec girls performing a dance in Huautla de Jimenez.
Tzeltal dancers waiting to perform, San Cristobal.

Mexico is a country of the North American continent (more specifically it can be included in the Middle America, or the Mesoamerica, due to ethnic and cultural characteristics).

South America

Embera women

South America generally includes all of the continent and islands south of the Isthmus of Panama.

See also

See also

See all pages that start with indigenous people or indigenous


  1. ^ Sanders, Douglas (1999). "Indigenous peoples: Issues of definition". International Journal of Cultural Property 8 (1): 4–13. doi:10.1017/S0940739199770591. 
  2. ^ Ritzer, G., and Ryan, M.J., eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, Wiley, 2011, p.313
  3. ^ Alia, V., Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in Arctic Canada, Berghahn Books, 2008, p.143
  4. ^ "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Philippines: Overview, 2007", UNHCR | Refworld.
  5. ^ Hanihara, T (1992). "Negritos, Australian Aborigines, and the proto-sundadont dental pattern: The basic populations in East Asia". American journal of physical anthropology 88 (2): 183–96. PMID 1605316. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330880206. 
  6. ^ Unrepresented Nations and People Organization | UNPO, Assyrians the Indigenous People of Iraq [1]
  7. ^ [2]"Jewish Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries"
  8. ^ Josephus. War of the Jews 9:2.
  9. ^ The UN Refugee Agency | UNHCR, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples [3]
  10. ^ Department of Evolutionary Biology at University of Tartu Estonian Biocentre | Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation, Molecular Anthropology Group [4]
  11. ^ Sawahla & Dloomy (2007, pp. 425–433)
  12. ^ Rouse (1992)


Kipuri, Naomi (2007), "Kenya", in Sille Stidsen (compilation and ed.), The Indigenous World 2007 (PDF online edition), International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs yearbooks (ISSN 1024-0217), Marianne Wiben Jensen (Horn of Africa and East Africa regional ed.), Copenhagen: IWGIA, distributed by Transaction Publishers, pp. 468–476, ISBN 978-87-91563-23-2, OCLC 30981676 
Minority Rights Group International (1997), World Directory of Minorities, London, UK: Minority Rights Group International, ISBN 978-1-873194-36-2 
Rouse, Irving (1992), The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People who greeted Columbus, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-05181-6, OCLC 24469325 
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