The Heat: Preserving the culture of indigenous people

The Heat

We know so little about them. Yet indigenous people live in every region of the world. Who are they and what can be done to preserve their culture and heritage in a world that seems to have left them far behind?

For many of us, the term “indigenous people” is not one we fully understand, let alone give much thought to. That’s part of the reason why the United Nations has set aside this Saturday to help educate and protect the rights of the more than 370 million indigenous people in 90 countries around the world. It’s a difficult challenge.

Indigenous people are defined by their ties to a particular territory and by their culture and history. That can often lead to exploitation and oppression and a struggle against abuse and poverty while trying to preserve their culture.

So when one of the estimated 100 indigenous groups living with virtually no interaction with the outside world recently chose to make its first contact — many indigenous rights advocates grew concerned.

Groups in remote regions live in a delicate balance with the environment. The natural world is a valued source of their food, health, spirituality and identity.

And as CCTV’s Sean Callebs reports history has shown progress has not been kind to them.

History has shown progress has not been kind to indigenous people

Groups in remote regions live in a delicate balance with the environment. The natural world is a valued source of their food, health, spirituality and identity. And as CCTV’s Sean Callebs reports history has shown progress has not been kind to them.

Grand Chief Edward John is a Hereditary Chief of the Tl’azt’en Nation — located in northern British Columbia. He also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the United Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He joined us from New York.

Are there common issues among all indigenous people?

Grand Chief Edward John is a Hereditary Chief of the Tl'azt'en Nation -- located in northern British Columbia. He also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the United Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He joined us from New York.

To continue the discussion we were joined by Paulo Sotero, the director of the Brazil Institute at the Wilson International Center for Scholars and Simon Moya-Smith.  Smith’s a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota and a reporter with the Indian Country Today Media Network.

Guest panel: preserving the culture of indigenous people

To continue the discussion we were joined by Paulo Sotero, the director of the Brazil Institute at the Wilson International Center for Scholars and Simon Moya-Smith.  Smith’s a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota and a reporter with the Indian Country Today Media Network.

Original story aired August 14, 2014 and re-broadcast on September 24, 2014.