The indigenous world: diversity acknowledged

Cultural innovation and diversity comes together: We meet other people, we exchange ideas, goods, culture, learn languages, eat new foods, play new tunes, interbreed. Diversity grows, and we are all richer for it.

But culture is becoming one and the same – there is pressure from the big cultures with the power and money to make others succumb. A lot of people don’t like this, they like what they have and want it to stay, even developing it as part of a natural process in the community or in interaction with others. So the question of  cultural diversity is heating up, and many factors are debated, among them the question of indigenous people all over the world. Indigenous people came first to an area and have often been there for a long time, creating fine and simple ways to live, often living very close to the natural world, and often considered primitive by others. But indigenous culture is diverse, often with truly original sophisticated  content.

History shows us that indigenous people have been hit hard all over the world: The US, Africa, Asia, South America. Recently the question of Roma and Travellers people have had a lot of attention. Empire building and colonialism have been part of it. Today we still see forms of imperialism, colonialism, globalization, wars, revengeful action putting pressure on the few and small.

Newly evolving indigenous perspectives of language, culture, economic exchange show us that the richness of all people can be useful to all in a process of  being yourself and meeting others on their own ground. The western world should learn to respect, adapt, interact, leave people alone to do their own living, and at the same time look for good ideas for innovation and improvement.

There are 6-7000 spoken languages in the world, many indigenous people have a mobile lifestyle, there are human rights and property rights involved, and there are contentions coming up in many places, while others have agreements, deals, sharing in their own – centrally governed – countries. They often have deep knowledge about nature and how to interact with it beneficially.

The impact of what we do to mineral resources, forest, water, land is felt by many indigenous people, and should be handled considerately and respectfully – and ecologically too.

Nobody should force other peoples into change. Cultural richness and personal diversity go together and are sources of enrichment in peoples’ lives. The world is better off with diversity.

So differences must be perpetuated – it is good for everybody – and life becomes richer and more fun. See?

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