Indigenous people around the world suffer so disproportionately from poverty, violence, disease and hunger that, in some cases, their very survival is threatened, according to a new United Nations report, “The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.”
Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing summarizes its findings here:
In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population;
In Australia, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-Native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, 13 years in Guatemala, and 11 years in New Zealand;
In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average;
Worldwide, more than 50 percent of indigenous adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes – a number predicted to rise.
“We indigenous people say we are not poor, we are impoverished because our access to our land and territories and resources have been curtailed very drastically by states and also corporations, and therefore we’ve become poor,” says Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
“We should not be materially poor, but we are also saying that we are very rich in culture and also in knowledge in terms of how to address the issues of natural resources management.”
The report stresses the crucial nature of indigenous people’s lands to their survival.
Read the report here.