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World Tribal Day History : Vishva Adivasi Divas 2023

World Tribal Day History : Vishva Adivasi Divas 2023

Indigenous Day, celebrated every year on August 9th, is a regional public holiday. It was declared by the United Nations in 1993 to coincide with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The term ‘Indigenous’ refers to various tribal communities residing in the Indian subcontinent, while the word ‘Day’ translates to ‘Din’ in Hindi. Despite progress in modern society, indigenous people are often associated with marginalized groups. Indigenous Day strives to recognize the challenges they still face and honors their resilience and struggle for improvement. Approximately 104 million people (over 9% of India’s population) fall into this category.

Indigenous Day :

Celebrated annually on August 9th, World Indigenous Day is observed. World Indigenous Day 2023 will also be celebrated on Wednesday, August 9th. This day is dedicated entirely to the world’s indigenous populations. Essentially, the term ‘indigenous’ is a collective term for India’s tribal communities. According to the 2011 census, 8.6% of India’s population, around 104 million people, are indigenous. In central India, the state of Madhya Pradesh is home to a significant number of tribal communities, with indigenous populations making up 20% or 15 million of the population. Indigenous Day is celebrated on August 9th to honor and recognize the unique challenges they face and to acknowledge their resilience and determination for improvement. This is a regional public holiday as it corresponds to the date of the United Nations’ International Day of Indigenous Peoples.During December of 1994, a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly was passed, designating the annual commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on the 9th of August. This date was chosen during the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations on Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Geneva in 1982.

History of Indigenous Day :

These communities primarily reside as tribal societies within India. This term also refers to ethnic minorities in neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. However, India does not consider its indigenous populations as ‘indigenous.’ It is believed that these communities were the original inhabitants of India before the Dravidian and Indo-Aryan migrations. Although many tribal communities have emerged since the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, today’s indigenous communities struggle to preserve their identity, culture, and dignity. In the midst of advancements, indigenous populations across the globe encounter obstacles ranging from prejudice and bias to assimilation, compelling them to safeguard their distinct identity and cultural legacy. In Jharkhand, nearly 28% of the total population belongs to indigenous communities, including Santhal, Banjara, Bihor, Chero, Gond, Ho, Khond, Lohra, Mai Pahadiya, Munda, and Oraon, among others.

This is why Indigenous Day is celebrated, to encourage and promote indigenous communities in their upliftment while preserving their culture and honor. On August 9th each year, International Indigenous Day is celebrated to bring indigenous communities, organizations, the United Nations, and governments of various countries together in celebrating through various events that include discussions, cultural programs, and awareness campaigns.”

When is World Indigenous Day celebrated? When is World Indigenous Day 2023?

Every year, Indigenous Day is celebrated on August 9th. This day is a regional public holiday observed on August 9th each year to honor local communities. It was declared by the United Nations in 1993, corresponding to the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The term ‘Indigenous’ refers to various tribal communities residing in the Indian subcontinent, while ‘Day’ translates to ‘Din’ in Hindi. Despite advancements in modern society, Indigenous people often belong to the most economically disadvantaged ethnic groups. Indigenous Day provides an opportunity to recognize the challenges they still face and to honor their resilience and struggle for improvement. Approximately 104 million people (more than 9% of India’s population) fall into this category.

How to Celebrate Indigenous Day :

Appreciate Indigenous Art:

Acknowledge and celebrate art forms created and preserved by tribal communities. These art forms can be Warli, Madhubani, Bhil, and Gond art.

Read Indigenous Literature:

Read literature produced and safeguarded by tribal societies through their oral traditions. This will provide better insights into their lives and history.

World Indigenous Day 2023:

World Indigenous Day 2023: The total global Indigenous population is approximately 470 million. Furthermore, there are more than 100 isolated tribal groups worldwide. Among the 7,000 languages spoken globally, around 4,000 are spoken by Indigenous people. Indigenous people worship nature, revering mountains, rivers, trees, birds, and animals. They maintain a harmonious connection with their natural environment and possess exceptional ecological knowledge. Over thousands of years, tribal communities have developed extraordinary skills for survival. It is astonishing that the 2004 tsunami did not affect the Indigenous people of the Andaman Islands. Upon seeing the receding tide, they immediately moved to higher ground, a reflection of their profound knowledge. In India, Indigenous population accounts for 8.6% of the total population. They are listed as Scheduled Tribes in the Indian Constitution. Indigenous groups in India include Gond, Munda, Ho, Bodo, Bhil, Santhal, Khasi, Garo, Great Andamanese, Angami, Bhotiya, Chenchu, Kodava, Toda, Meena, Birhor, and many others.

How many Indigenous tribes reside in India?

Out of the 500+ Indigenous communities in India, approximately 75 are highly skilled in agriculture and pre-agricultural technology. These groups face challenges due to low literacy, economic disparities, and a stable or declining population. Ensuring the security of Indigenous groups in India requires considering various factors that might negatively impact them. Despite this, a notable characteristic of some endangered groups is their extremely small and/or decreasing population.


Bhils are mainly found in Udaipur in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan, as well as in parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tripura.

Great Andamanese:

The Great Andamanese tribes, including the Onges, Jarwas, Jangil, and Sentineli, are considered the original inhabitants of the islands. However, their survival is on the brink of extinction.


Santhals are predominantly dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. They are primarily located in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, and Assam.


Munda tribes inhabit the Chota Nagpur plateau, mainly in Jharkhand but also in parts of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Odisha.

These Indigenous communities hold a wealth of cultural diversity, unique traditions, and rich histories that deserve acknowledgment and preservation.

The Indigenous Tribes:

Indigenous tribes are known for their vibrant ways of life. Their main abode lies within the Meghalayan hills, adjacent areas of Bangladesh, and sections of West Bengal, Assam, as well as Nagaland. 

Munda Tribe:

Residing mainly in the Chota Nagpur Plateau region, the Munda tribe is predominantly found in Jharkhand’s Jharia region. Moreover, the Munda indigenous groups can be sighted in the expanse of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, along with certain portions of Odisha.

Kurumba Tribe:

The Kurumba tribe exhibits a simple lifestyle, relying on agricultural products primarily in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also known for their traditional herbal medicine practices and magic.

Bodo Tribes:

Today, the Bodo tribes are found in Assam’s Udalguri and Kokrajhar, as well as parts of West Bengal and Nagaland. They have a tradition of consuming meat.

Irula Tribe:

Numbering roughly 300,000 individuals, the Irula ethnic community dwells within the realms of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, as well as specific territories within Kerala.

Toto Tribe:

The Toto tribe is part of isolated indigenous communities in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, particularly in the Totopara village. They lead a simple lifestyle, depending mainly on trade of vegetables and fruits.

Facts about Tribes You Might Not Know:

Overcoming Prejudices

Despite protective provisions, indigenous communities still face biases and misconceptions in mainstream India.

Lack of Adequate Literacy

Many tribal children drop out of school early due to financial constraints, impacting their education.

Social and Economic Challenges

It’s estimated that nearly half of the indigenous population lives below the poverty line nationally.

Displacement Issues

Several communities are still losing their homes due to large-scale development projects like mining and dam constructions.

Isolated Tribes

Only a few tribes in the world, such as those within a three-mile journey of an island, are restricted by the Indian government for contact.

Why Indigenous Day Matters?

Preservation of Art and Culture

Indigenous communities possess a treasure trove of tradition, culture, and heritage that must be preserved and understood.

Environmental Stewards

Native societies safeguard a wealth of traditions, culture, and heritage that necessitate conservation and comprehensive comprehension.

Right to Dignified Living for All

Indigenous people have long been on the fringes, and despite governmental support, many still lack resources to escape poverty. Recognizing their struggles and extending necessary aid is crucial.


The observance of Global Indigenous Day serves as a poignant reminder that the integral inclusion of indigenous communities enriches the fabric of our society. Respecting their culture, language, traditions, and ensuring their protection is our responsibility. This day underscores the need for unity and harmony under the banner of humanity. Celebrating this day together offers an opportunity to understand, support, and uplift indigenous communities’ prosperity.