Standard Article

Indigenous peoples and migration

Migration A–Z


  1. Carlos Yescas

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm296

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Yescas, C. 2013. Indigenous peoples and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Indigenous peoples define themselves as communities, groups, and/or nations who pre-existed the international nation-state system and continue to survive as ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/or cultural minorities in the countries they inhabit. Indigenous leaders, human rights advocates, and scholars emphasize that they are the cultural inheritors and descendants of the original communities who first inhabited the Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and northern Europe before the onset of colonization or prior to the large-scale settlement of nation-states. These communities have largely remained distinct from national majorities and are often disenfranchised from national governments and/or other decision-making structures. The term “indigenous peoples” at the international level has become common shorthand for referring to all communities around the world that may share one of the characteristics previously noted. While indigenous peoples worldwide are ethnically and nationally distinct, and while there is a broad diversity of indigenous traditions, experience, and modes of self-definition, their common defining characteristic is that their communities pre-existed the nation-state system.


  • indigenous peoples;
  • borders;
  • demography and population studies;
  • colonialism;
  • imperialism;
  • crimes against humanity;
  • ethnic cleansing