Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a land, possessing their own culture, language and customs that differ from the rest of society and were developed before exposure to the larger connected civilization associated with western culture. Indigenous peoples have often been oppressed throughout history. Their land has been confiscated, they have been displaced, their cultures suppressed and in some cases have been the victims of genocide. The survival of their cultures is proof of the resilience of these traditional societies, held together by their identity – their culture language and tradition. This identity is always associated with a geographical area and the historical links with the environment that they have inhabited and depended on. In terms of animal breeds or plant varieties, the word Indigenous denotes that the species is native to a given region or ecosystem.
Around the world, Slow Food works to protect the cultures and livelihoods of indigenous groups and the biodiversity of indigenous breeds and varieties through a number of projects and initiatives.