Recognizing International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Visit with Maya Traditions in Guatemala {The Little Market}Photo by The Little Market

The Little Market proudly partners with a number of indigenous artisan groups. Our partners include Mayan and Tzotzil Mayan groups from Mexico (Macvilho and Luchometik); three Maya groups from Guatemala (Maya Traditions, Wakami, and Mayan Hands); and Aymaras, Acora, Juli, Pilcullo, and Quechua from Peru (Naguska), among others.

2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On this day, we celebrate indigenous peoples around the world and recognize that much work still needs to be done to ensure that the human rights and traditions of indigenous peoples are protected. The UN reports that indigenous peoples constitute only five percent of the world’s population, yet they account for 15 percent of the poorest and most marginalized communities.1

Mayan Hands ArtisansPhoto Courtesy of Mayan Hands

One of the purposes of International Day of the World’s Indigenous peoples is to celebrate indigenous identity. But who are indigenous peoples? According to the UN, indigenous communities possess “characteristics which are clearly different from those of other segments of the national populations.”2 Indigenous peoples are culturally and geographically diverse. The UN identifies indigenous peoples in the Americas, including the Lakota in the USA, the Mayas in Guatemala, and the Aymaras in Bolivia among others. Indigenous communities also reside in the circumpolar region, northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), indigenous peoples represent the greater part of the world’s cultural diversity, maintaining almost 7,000 of the world’s languages3 and 5,000 different cultures.

Historically, indigenous peoples have occupied the lower ranks of the social strata. Today, many of these communities continue to have limited access to basic services such as running water, healthcare, and education, just to name a few. After decades of advocacy and activism, in September of 2007, the General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This international instrument contextualizes the human rights framework into the specific vulnerabilities faced by indigenous communities.

Visit with Maya Traditions in Guatemala Image 2 {The Little Market}Photo by The Little Market

Each year on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the UN focuses on a particular issue affecting the world’s indigenous communities. This year’s observance celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration. This commemoration provides an optimal opportunity for the development of projects that advance opportunities for indigenous communities.

Through the purchase of artisan-made products, you are helping us support the preservation of cultural traditions and indigenous identity, while creating meaningful opportunities for marginalized indigenous artisans. Thank you for your support!

1 United Nations – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
2 United Nations Factsheet “Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Voices.”
3 Indigenous Peoples and UNESCO


Yazmin Gonzalez - Artisan Liaison {The Little Market}
Yazmin Gonzalez

Artisan Liaison for The Little Market

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