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Indigenous People

The term Indigenous people refers to descendants of the original or earliest human inhabitants of a territory or land mass (e.g., Indigenous people of North America). Capitalized as a marker of respect, Indigenous people refers to a group of Indigenous individuals and is distinct from Indigenous peoples (plural), which refers to specific Indigenous groups, communities, or nations. Indigenous people is used to distinguish original inhabitants of a territory from those who arrived later, or who occupied, settled, or colonized a territory already claimed by Indigenous people.

Indigenous nations have a long history of asserting their sovereignty, which refers to a group’s right and power to govern itself without interference from competing governing powers. Sovereignty is most clearly established in its exercise, even when this status is ...

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