Indigenous - Definition of Indigenous People
First, what is an indigenous people?
There is no one official
definition of the term indigenous.
Wikipedia sums up their definition
in an opening line as "people, communities, and nations who are native
to a particular area."
In regards to Peru, we will narrow it down to those native
people still living in Peru who have their own distinct language.
The major example would be the Quechua Indians, the biggest group of
Peruvian "Indians" or natives that exists in Peru today.
Indigenous People of
Peru - Peru Language Groups
are currently reported to be 92 separate and distinct languages spoken
in Peru (Ethnologue:
Languages of the World
It's interesting to note that although the common language of
Peru is Spanish, legally all indigenous languages are recognized as
official languages now by the Peruvian government.
The sheer numbers, at first glance, may be surprising. However,
compared to Mexico, for example (291 distinct languages), this is not
an unusually large number of indigenous tribes, considering the
remoteness of many of Peru's rain forest and cloud forest areas.
Another factor is that, while there exist 92 individual groups of
Peruvian Indians, most of these groups contain a very small comparative
number of people. Some of the extremely-isolated indigenous tribes or
groups may have become extinct since the last official count reported.