Introduction: What place for indigenous people in modern States?

  • Quentin Gausset University of Copenhagen
  • Justin Kenrick University of Edinburgh
  • Robert Gibb University of Glasgow


Indigenous people are usually defined as people with a distinctive culture whose ancestors occupied and used a certain territory before the arrival of newcomers, and who tend to be politically, economically and culturally marginalised by the latter. In short, indigeneity is the product of colonialism, whether external (colonisation by migrants coming from afar, usually from Europe) or internal (colonisation by neighbours and citizens of the same State). It is through their confrontation with people who advance claims to their ancestral land or resources and who threaten their culture and rights that the consciousness of being indigenous (at the same time different, more ancient and threatened) is developed.