Anthropology

Difference between Indian and Indigenous

In Spanish there are many words that have wrong meanings or interpretations, which have prevailed due to their widespread use over time. Sometimes, even knowing that the use of the word is incorrect, it is difficult to correct the error. Such is the case of the words Indian and indigenous. These, despite having had relatively similar meanings at some point, today have completely different definitions. However, both are still being interchanged and used incorrectly by many people, so it is useful to know the differences between the two.

Comparison table

Indian
Indigenous
Definition
  1. Person originally from India. Relating to India.
  2. Native American, of the indigenous races or peoples of North America.
  3. As a derogatory use in some Spanish-speaking countries, it is synonymous with uneducated; person of unrefined manners.
  1. Inhabitant who is native to a country.
  2. Relating to a population originating from a territory that it inhabits. This presence must be long enough to be, in fact, native.
  3. Any ethnic group that still preserves its traditional cultures. These groups have characteristics such as having organizational traditions different from the modern state and having survived the expansion of Western civilization.
common confusions The term is often confused and interchanged with the word “Hindu”. Many people refer to people of Indian nationality (originating from India) as Hindus. Hindu is a person who practices the Hindu religion. As for indigenous, many people tend to use the word “indio” instead of “indigenous” and vice versa. This confusion has its origin in the arrival of Columbus in America, who thought that he had arrived in India, in Asia. 

Confusions between indigenous indigent, aboriginal and native are also common.

examples “Mahatma Gandhi is just one of many outstanding Indian people throughout history.” “The indigenous population of Brazil represents 0.4% of the total population of the country. This is a total of about 900,000 people spread across 240 tribes.”

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