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Monday, December 18, 2017

Adivasi: Aborigines of India and the Indigenous Unity Flag

Adivasi's adopt the Indigenous Unity Flag

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples march and festival in Vyara, Tapi District, Gujarat, India. August 9, 2017. Photo by Unknown Photographer shared on Facebook

India, the 2nd most populated country in the world with an estimated 1.345 billion people (as of Dec, 2017), also has the 2nd highest indigenous population with an estimated 115 million people which many now call themselves Adivasi. A beautiful country consisting of 29 states and 7 union territories, indigenous people live throughout the landscape from the tip of India starting at the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas, Thar Desert and lush forests and jungles all creating a diverse environment and home to the Tiger. Unity is diversity, being the main slogan of the country.

Starting in the 1930s, many indigenous peoples in India use the term Adivasi, which derives from the Hindi language and may differ from state to state and areas throughout India and today is recognized as a legal constitutional term. There are some tribes that may not use this term who might be considered or recognized as indigenous peoples. In colonial times, Northeast India, only the Tea tribes were known as Adivasi but the same cannot be said for today because of the rapid social change of a modernized world, migration of peoples and what it means to be indigenous today and how different parts of the world view and measure indigeneity and blood quantum. A importance to preserve and protect our history and present future remains a global struggle for all indigenous peoples.

As we break down the word Adivasi, 'adi' means from the beginning (earliest time). The word 'vasi' simply means original inhabitant.

According to Wikipedia:"prominent Adivasi societies can be found in the Indian states of Andra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat - where the Indigenous Unity Flag is famous, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bangal, some northern states, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
as well as the country of Nepal.

The first Indian Indigenous Unity Flag artfully re-created by artist Arpana Chaudhari


A beautiful Adivasi girl named Arpana Chaudhari, in the town of Vyara in Tapi District, India, proudly holds up her artful re-creation of the Indigenous Unity Flag, signifying the start of a global trend to bring forth indigenous unity for all indigenous peoples around the world to appreciate and embrace. Photo by Lata Chaudhari

Indigenous Unity demonstrated and displayed in Gujarat, India on Aug 9, 2017



While people around the world march, sing, dance and celebrate their cultural heritage during the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the International Indigenous Unity Flag is proudly raised making its first crowd appearance in India, marking and signaling a significant stride to create International Indigenous Unity and solidarity to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples around the world and to recognize achievements and contributions meant to improve global issues and problems such as environmental protection and indigenous rights recognition while focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

[The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world's indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.] (Source Wikipedia)

A constructed and engineered oppression towards indigenous peoples in many countries around the world seem to have a similar pattern and agenda. The European colonial period created sociocultural evolution bringing forth new ethnicity that formed cultural hybridity. The Adivasis, just like many indigenous peoples of the world, are autochthonous to their region rather than descendants from colonialism, giving them a strong indigeneity; quality of being indigenous. They have been oppressed and demand land reform, self determination and for the Government of India to honor the Declaration on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Unity demonstrated and displayed in Gujarat, India on Aug 9, 2017. Photo by Unknown Photographer shared on Facebook