According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are 476.6 million Indigenous Peoples globally, of which 238.4 million are women and 238.2 million are men. Comprising about 9% of the world’s population, the indigenous represent about 19% of the world’s poor.
They remain especially vulnerable to displacement, violence and human rights abuses, and the impacts of commercial development and business activities. In addition, the United Nations says that Indigenous Peoples are often excluded or poorly represented in decision-making processes on matters directly affecting them.
We should care about Indigenous Peoples no matter where we live or who we are. Why? According to the World Bank, they are more likely to be poor, face exclusion, are marginalised, and lack equal access to essential services. But, crucially, they also help protect our environment, fight climate change, and build resilience to natural disasters despite the ignorance of their rights.
On August 9, we commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to recognise their liberties and spread greater awareness of their contributions. This year’s theme is “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.”
Indigenous women are the backbone of their communities and play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting traditional ancestral knowledge. In addition, they have an integral collective and community role as carers of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge. Many indigenous women also lead in defending lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.
Here are some things you can do to recognise Indigenous Peoples and their contributions to our world:
An excellent way to start understanding and appreciating Indigenous Peoples is to learn about them where you live – or in the places you explore in your travels. Discover their histories and who they are today. Learning more about Indigenous Peoples’ culture offers a wealth of knowledge and will benefit your future.
These suggestions are some of the best ways to celebrate indigenous cultures! For starters, support indigenous authors by reading their books. By adding indigenous children’s books to your bookshelf, you and your family can learn about different tribes and cultures together. In addition, purchase and stream indigenous music and watch shows and movies by and starring native actors.
Numerous countries have a long and oppressive history with Indigenous Peoples. However, many charities lead the efforts to support the indigenous and assist in the reconciliation process. Please show your support in your area by donating to local organisations encouraging indigenous movements and campaigns.
Making a conscious decision to spend on genuine indigenous products and brands encourages these enterprises to continue growing financially and conceivably create more jobs within the communities.
RYTHM Foundation’s Community Adoption Programme in Sabah, East Malaysia (CAP Sabah), actively promotes the local indigenous community’s small-scale entrepreneurial ventures. For example, youths in the Kiulu region are training to offer eco-tourism trips and tours in the area known for its majestic mountains and hiking trails. On the other hand, several village women in the area are catering to a growing demand for local delicacies and snacks.
More about CAP Sabah in the video below:
Over the years, we have worked actively with numerous on-the-ground partners in locations where we have a presence to provide aid and relief to indigenous communities. Here are a few examples:
Another thoughtful way to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – and beyond – is to join in-person or virtual events that bring awareness to a host of subjects that can increase your understanding of Indigenous Peoples and their traditions and ways of life.
Appreciating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on social media is a significant first step, but there is more that you can do. It is a great way to show your network of family and friends that you are taking a stand in solidarity with the native communities you support. We share dynamic content on our website and social media feeds about our work with and for the indigenous. Check them out on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts.
Philanthropic activities should not merely extend goodwill through common, one-off Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Consider contributing direct resources or support to indigenous-led organisations. Studies show that indigenous groups have low sanitation and health attainment besides education – these are causes your company can get behind to improve the lives of the indigenous while building awareness, education, and connections for employees.