Global Action Plan

The World's Indigenous Peoples


The world’s indigenous peoples are an intrinsic part of our Global Action Plan, without which deep insights and unique perspectives into the spiritual forces that helped shape the human condition and the life-cycles that preserve the natural environment, upon which we all depend, would remain unknown.

There are 476 million Indigenous people around the world and spread across more than 90 countries. They belong to more than 5,000 different Indigenous peoples and speak more than 4,000 languages. Indigenous people represent about 5% of the world’s population. The vast majority of them – 70% – live in Asia. ⎯Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples

ancestral ties

Indigenous Peoples are distinct social and cultural groups that share collective ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources where they live, occupy or from which they have been displaced. The land and natural resources on which they depend are inextricably linked to their identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being. They often subscribe to their customary leaders and organizations for representation that are distinct or separate from those of the mainstream society or culture. Many Indigenous Peoples still maintain a language distinct from the official language or languages of the country or region in which they reside; however, many have also lost their languages or on the precipice of extinction due to eviction from their lands and/or relocation to other territories, and in. They speak more than 4,000 of the world's languages, though some estimates indicate that more than half of the world's languages are at risk of becoming extinct by 2100. ⎯World Bank Report


When discussing the important characteristics of indigenous peoples, perhaps the most important aspect is indigenous cosmic visions. This is the conception of creation as a living process, resulting in a living universe in which a kinship exists between all things. What is evident is the spiritual perception, the knowing, the understanding of the oneness, the unity and interrelationship of all created things. ⎯Jack D. Forbes, Daedalus

That which characterizes indigenous peoples life-cycle is, namely, spirituality.

"We must try to use the pipe for mankind, which is on the road to self-destruction. . . . This can be done only if all of us, Indians and non-Indians alike, can again see ourselves as part of the earth, not as an enemy from the outside who tries to impose its will on it. Because we . . . also know that, being a living part of the earth, we cannot harm any part of her without hurting ourselves." ⎯Fire, Lame Deer, and Erdoes, Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, 265–266.
  • As standard-bearers, indigenous peoples throughout the world will arise with a great power to become an example of spirituality and culture.
  • Indigenous communities have the potential to become outstanding examples of education, of culture and of civilization for the entire world.
  • In a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole. No lasting result can be achieved by any of the component parts if the general interests of the entity itself are neglected.
  • Cultural diversity: Indigenous peoples have suffered terrible oppression because new settlers did not tolerate diversity, but viewed their own cultures as superior and more advanced. Appreciation for diverse cultures and ethnic characteristics is a prerequisite for the elimination of discrimination against indigenous populations.
It would be a great mistake to believe that people we might consider as illiterate or live in ways that we outsiders consider primitive, that they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. Consider they may well look on us with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. Therefore, we outsiders should meet indigenous peoples as equals, as well-wishers, as people who admire and respect their ancient decent, and who feel that they will be interested as we are in living a spiritual life, one filled with joy and happiness.

Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The rights of indigenous peoples are worldwide. Those featured here represents only a tiny fraction of the extended family of humankind.

Indigenous peoples must have the right to participate fully and actively in their national societies and in decisions that affect them. Their participation will enrich the lives of their national communities. More importantly, it will allow them to guide their own destinies. Full and active participation will enable indigenous peoples to develop the confidence, self-reliance and leadership skills that are essential if they are to play an active part in providing a higher level of social, economic and spiritual well-being for their peoples. ⎯Statement made to the UN, 1988
indigenous peoples


Indigenous Population

There are an estimated 476 million Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Although they make up just 6 percent of the global population, they account for about 19 percent of the extreme poor. Indigenous Peoples’ life expectancy is up to 20 years lower than the life expectancy of non-indigenous people worldwide. Indigenous Peoples often lack formal recognition over their lands, territories and natural resources, are often last to receive public investments in basic services and infrastructure and face multiple barriers to participate fully in the formal economy, enjoy access to justice, and participate in political processes and decision making. This legacy of inequality and exclusion has made Indigenous peoples more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards, including to disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. Vulnerabilities to the pandemic are exacerbated in some cases by the lack of access to national health, water, and sanitation systems, the shutting down of markets, and mobility restrictions that have greatly impacted their livelihoods, food insecurity, and well-being.
While Indigenous Peoples own, occupy, or use a quarter of the world’s surface area, they safeguard 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. They hold vital ancestral knowledge and expertise on how to adapt, mitigate, and reduce climate and disaster risks.
Much of the land occupied by Indigenous Peoples is under customary ownership, yet many governments recognize only a fraction of this land as formally or legally belonging to Indigenous Peoples. Even when Indigenous territories and lands are recognized, protection of boundaries or use and exploitation of natural resources are often inadequate. Insecure land tenure is a driver of conflict, environmental degradation, and weak economic and social development. This threatens cultural survival and vital knowledge systems – loss in these areas increasing risks of fragility, biodiversity loss, and degraded One Health (or ecological and animal health) systems which threaten the ecosystem services upon which we all depend.

⎯World Bank Report
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2022

About Us

Who We Are

While there is great diversity among Indigenous Peoples, there are also some commonalities in Indigenous worldviews and ways of being. Indigenous worldviews see the whole person (physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual) as interconnected to land and in relationship to others (family, communities, nations). This is called a holistic or wholistic view, (i.e., framework) which is an important aspect of indigenous peoples understanding of themselves and their existence in creation.

Wholistic Framework


Why You?

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help resolve the plight of indigenous peoples

Human rights abuses related to indigenous land rights and culture, have prompted growing numbers of Indigenous Peoples to leave their traditional lands for towns and cities. Cut off from resources and traditions vital to their welfare and survival, many Indigenous Peoples face even greater marginalization, poverty, disease and violence – and sometimes, extinction as a people.

Indigenous Learners

We adapted the above framework as a source of understanding and placed it as a perspective within our Global Action Plan. Designed originally for indigenous education, it is not meant to be a model that treats all Indigenous Peoples as the same but a model to show how the diversity of Indigenous understandings of place, language, and cultures relates to the individual and the community. An Indigenous learner who is balanced in all realms (physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional) and empowered in terms of who they are as an Indigenous person has their cultural integrity not only valued but honoured as they go through life's journey.

wholistic framework

The Indigenous wholistic framework provides guiding principles to ensure post-secondary institutions become accessible, inclusive, safe, and successful places for Indigenous peoples.


  • Encompasses an understanding of and practicing community protocols.
  • Honours Indigenous knowledges and ways of being.
  • Considers in a reflective and non-judgmental way what is being seen and heard.

Burnshire Academy

Addressing indigenous peoples' concerns

Our Global Action Plan, assisted by Burnshire Academy, engages in a consultative process with indigenous communities and others to address indigenous peoples’ concerns by seeking to change the mental handicap of the wider outside population. The aim is to foster mutual respect for indigenous culture and appreciation for its knowledge and endurance. We focus on the principle of the oneness of humanity, the innate character of the human species, its condition and commonality, and especially its inherent spiritual core, to encourage efforts to preserve the unique way of life that indigenous peoples have cultivated over untold millennia.

  • ‘New thinking’ provides the bedrock for humanity to move beyond complacency and engage a proactive stance of resolve.
  • We add value to initiatives that are designed to elevate human consciousness to an inclusive reality, and in this way foster a cohesive public policy to advance human endeavour in a global context.
  • We stress the synergistic capability of leadership, law, and governance as a unified trilateral operative made inclusive to public policy. It is consistent in championing humanity’s moral, ethical, and spiritual values to secure sustainability goals and objectives.
  • We attempt to bridge the gap between where humanity stands today in relation to where it could be at various intervals in the near future, with plans and projections to extend time-horizons far into the distant unknown. Theory is find, but proof resides in concerted action.

Sustainable Achievements through justice and sacrificial endeavours

Photographer, Terry Randolph
Right: Creative Commons (CC).


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