International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples observed on August 9, aims to promote and protect the rights of indigenous populations worldwide. Also known as World Tribal Day, it honours the distinctive cultures, languages, customs, and contributions of indigenous communities. This day sheds light on the challenges they face, such as land rights, cultural preservation, prejudice, marginalization, and social and economic inequities.
The history of World Tribal Day dates back to a UN General Assembly decision in December 1994, designating August 9 as a day to recognize the importance of indigenous peoples. The chosen date commemorates the inaugural meeting of the 1982 Geneva-based Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Theme for the day
The theme for World Tribal Day 2023 is “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination.” This highlights the role of young indigenous individuals in driving self-determination and positive changes within their communities.
The significance of this day lies in its emphasis on the rich cultural diversity, heritage, and contributions of indigenous communities globally. It addresses the fact that indigenous people often face disproportionate disadvantages, even though they make up a small portion of the world’s population. For instance, the UN estimates that indigenous people constitute less than 5% of the global population but account for 15% of the world’s poorest individuals. This day offers a platform to raise awareness and advocate for their rights, while also celebrating their resilience and contributions to the world.