Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peoples: Aborginal, Ethnic, First Nation, Indigenous, Native, Tribal

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A woman and her child, belonging to the Garo (Mandi) ethnic group,
is going to fish in a canal at Chengni village in Netrakona District, Bangladesh

Photo (March, 2009) © Raphael Palma

A group of people having a common cultural identity is called variously in different parts of the world. They are called aboriginals (in Australia, aborigines), the first nations (in Canada), ethnic people, indigenous people, native people, or tribals.

The whites or Europeans used these terms to mean the people living in a place before their arrival. Some of these terms gradually became depreciatory or pejorative. In the use of some of the terms, the dominant culture's parochialism and marginal existence of these people became aloud. For these reasons, these people do not want themselves to be called natives or tribals any more. They want an equal footing and status with any other race or ethnic group. They prefer the terms the aborginals, the first nations, the ethnic people (or groups) and the indigenous people.

We should give them proper respect, dignity, recognition and opportunities. They could be in the same position as us if they had got the equal treatment and same opportunities. In literacy, science or otherwise, they may be "behind us" but that does not mean that they are "primitive", "uncivilized" or "unteachable". Like different species of flowers, ethnic differences make this world a wonderful and beautiful place as no other in the unverse.


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