The indigenous people live in areas very rich in natural resources. With increasing globalization, there are attempts by outside forces to control and exploit these resources affecting the life and culture and economy of indigenous people. This has also created identity crisis.
The indigenous people or tribals who form a sizeable population in many countries are treated in a number of ways by the different governments. The approaches vary at two extremes, the policy of segregation or isolation to total assimilation. Various development programmes have also been initiated for them and it has been pointed out that to make the programmes successful, one must be aware about their cultural traditions, eco-system and economy, history and ethnic composition of the region and felt needs of the population. It is important to examine their transformation and capture the changing scenario and a whole diversity of attendant issues related to economy, agronomy, politics, ethnicity, ecology, education, technology transfer, social/ ethno-political movements, religious faiths and rituals and their rich traditional wisdom and knowledge. It is to be critically examined how development processes have affected their pristine environment or how the deepening crisis of identity have not only produced new social formations, but have led to turmoil, unrest and movement.
One unfortunate contradiction is noted in many places. The areas where indigenous people live are very rich so far the natural resources are concerned. But the poorest of the poor also live here. Again, a number of development programmes have been initiated which have varied effects on population. In many places, the development programmes have benefited some while created disruption and displacement for others, particularly the indigenous people affecting their survival and security. In this session, these issues will be examined with cross-cultural data.