International Day of the World’s Indigenous People: Celebrating North Africa’s Native Population
The geographical area known today as North Africa is most commonly associated with its modern Arab inhabitants. However, this land is home to numerous indigenous people that predate Arab civilization itself. Nevertheless, some factions did assimilate and integrate with the changing demographic, giving North Africa its distinct ethnic diversity. Here are a few of North Africa’s native people.
The Tuareg People
Dubbed the blue people of the desert, the Tuareg people wear their characteristic indigo blue garments to protect them from the scorching sun. Much of the Tuareg’s original lands are now found in Algeria, Libya, Niger, and Mali. Though their original lands are often encroached upon, the Tuareg people are very much still a unit. Still living in North and West Africa, they remain loyal to their traditions and identity.
The Amazigh People
The Amazigh people or the Berbers, are the indigenous people who reside in areas spanning from the Siwa Oasis in Egypt all the way to Mauritania. The first mention of the Amazigh can be traced back to hieroglyphics found in Thebes. Despite living in scattered areas around North Africa, the Amazigh people have their own flag and sets of languages. Recently, due to their high density in Morocco, the Amazighs have been petitioning for their language to be added as an official language in Morocco. They also push for their own political representation.
Currently living in Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt, the distinct and wonderful Nubian culture is known for its vibrant architecture, attire, and bright personalities. Their gloriously rich history is sorrowfully neglected. But the Nubian language and culture live through their people all the way from Wadi Halfa in Sudan, to Kom Ombo in Egypt.
There are many more rich indigenous cultures and people in North Africa and the Middle east. Here’s to embracing every single one and celebrating indigenous history.