Indigenous peoples

Who are indigenous peoples?

Diversity between regions and countries, and differences in backgrounds, cultures, history and conditions have proved extremely difficult for the development of one single definition, at international level, applicable to all indigenous communities. In accordance with international consensus, FAO abides by the following criteria when considering indigenous peoples:

  • Priority in time, with respect to occupation and use of a specific territory;
  • The voluntary perpetuation of cultural distinctiveness, which may include aspects of language, social organization, religion and spiritual values, modes of production, laws and institutions;
  • Self-identification, as well as recognition by other groups, or by State authorities, as a distinct collectivity; and
  • An experience of subjugation, marginalization, dispossession, exclusion or discrimination, whether or not these conditions persist.