Central Asia Indigenous Peoples
Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, covering an area of 5,130,746 square kilometers (1,980,992 sq mi). With a population of 1,600,000,000 people, Central Asia includes seven countries – Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Across this vast region, indigenous peoples – often called Tribals, Adivasis, or Dalits – have lived for thousands and thousands of years. In Bangladesh there are over 50 tribal groups, most of whom are located in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast, while in India, there are over 200 recognized tribal groups (as well as many unrecognized tribal groups). Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan also have large indigenous populations, although they are often referred to as ethnic minorities. Like their indigenous brothers and sisters, they face a number of common struggles: sovereignty, the right to self-determination, preservation of language and heritage, rights to land and natural resources, impacts from climate change and environmental damage, and recognition within local, federal, and international governments and laws.