1.2.1 Contents of Chapter 2. Who are the Indigenous peoples?

We will create a short sketch of Indigenous peoples - who they are, where they are and their main social and cultural characteristics - in order to understand why they need special attention.

Very frequently, poverty is considered the common characteristic among Indigenous peoples. Therefore, it appears to make sense that policies needed to help Indigenous people are the same policies being applied to help all poor people. Nevertheless, Indigenous peoples often are anything but poor; many of them are located in areas with vast amounts of natural resources. Moreover, they have ancestral cultural wealth that carries great knowledge about the biodiversity of the zones that they inhabit. This knowledge has allowed Indigenous peoples to conserve their ancestral homes and thrive in them. Furthermore, Indigenous peoples possess solid community structures and rich cultural expressions, among many other social goods.

The above notwithstanding, Indigenous peoples do have the lowest rates of human development. This dichotomy is not simple, and in order to approach such underprivileged communities we must be aware of the causes of their marginalization, so that we can correct the barriers that have prevented their development and avoid those barriers in the design of development projects.

The first part of this toolkit aims to do precisely that, in order to understand Indigenous peoples´ particular situations and the realities in which community ICT access programmes have to operate.