In·di·ge·ne·i·ty is a collective identity term utilized by many Indigenous peoples to understand themselves. Most broadly, it operates as a term which unites the struggles and celebrations of Indigenous peoples all around the world. Indigenity is highly diverse and cannot be defined by something as simple as blood or where someone lives. Indigneous people who lead parts of with the United Nations collaboratively identified Indigenous peoples based on the following criteria:

  • Self-identification as indigenous people at the individual level and accepted by their community as their member.
  • Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies.
  • Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources.
  • Distinct social, economic, or political systems.
  • Distinct language, culture, and beliefs.
  • Form non-dominant groups of society.
  • Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities.

Like any collective identity term, there is not a clear consensus on what a large group of people wish to be called. Many people who fall under the umbrella of indigenous prefer to be directly associated with nuanced terms for their ethnicity and culture. Importantly, Indigenous people who helped identify the above criteria at the United Nations understand that groups must choose to self-identify as Indigenous. In that way, indigeneity does not replicate colonialism; it is a term claimed by and for indigenous people which centers the dual need for both self-identification and community identity.

This collection is only a snapshot of indigenous identities around the world, but indigeneity is what unites them. From the joy in speaking the language of ancestors to the ongoing fight to be seen as still-living people rather than mascots and logos all are a part of the Indigenous experience. Some of these pins may not have been created by indigenous people, yet all support and reflect indigeneity in solidarity and respect. Despite colonialsm's ongoing oppression, we (Indigenous peoples) are still here. Breathing, teaching, celebrating, and fighting for the past, present, and future generations and the earth we live on.

At the UN, Indigenous people are in charge of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). There are also documents like The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and two more UN bodies: Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.