Indigenous artwork, Ngaruwanajirri Art Centre, Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island, Australia
© Robert Wyatt/Alam
A day for the world's Indigenous populations. International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
Earth is home to an estimated 476 million Indigenous people, those who are descendants of the first known inhabitants of a particular area. Indigenous people—a term meaning 'sprung from the land' or native—speak the majority of approximately 7,000 languages on Earth in 5,000 unique cultures. For example, the Tiwi people of Australia, whose art is seen today, speak a unique language—unlinked to any other known language—in their community of only 2,000 people. Colonisation has long impacted Indigenous people and contributed to high rates of poverty and the loss of language and traditional lands. The UN first held the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples in 1994, and every August 9, they bring attention to the fight to preserve the rights, dignity, and mere existence of the world's oldest cultures.