Title of the article:



Lyubov’ M. Mosolova

Alexey V. Bondarev

Alexey V. Zykin 

Information about the author/authors

Lyubov’ M. Mosolova — PhD in Art, Professor, Theory and History of Culture Department, The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Moika River emb. 48, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5752-3142
E-mail: mosolova@mail.ru

Alexey V. Bondarev — PhD in Culturology, Associate professor, Theory and History of Culture Department, The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Moika River Emb. 48, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9272-2160
E-mail: avbondarev@mail.ru

Alexey V. Zykin — DSc in Culturology, Head of Department, Department of Foreign Languages and Speech Culture, Saint-Petersburg State Agrarian University, Peterburgskoe Hwy., 2, 196601 St. Petersburg, Pushkin, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8312-4559
E-mail: zykinalex@mail.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 65


pp. 83–114


April 01, 2021

Approved after reviewing

May 17, 2021

Date of publication

September 28, 2022



Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper presents an attempt at problematizing of the “small indigenous peoples” concept, analyzes the entire range of the terms “small” and “indigenous” people interpretations that have developed in modern science, as well as raises the question of the nature and purpose of using these concepts in various scientific discourses and socio-political practices. The relevance of this issue statement is related to the fact that the actual existence of small-numbered peoples, the direction of their mental orientations, the degree and methods of protection of ethno-cultural identity, obvious and hidden possibilities of using these ethnic groups as actors for various political and economic purposes largely depend on the adequate or inadequate interpretation and legal application of this term. The purpose of the proposed study is to analyze the heuristic status and practice-oriented function of the terms “small-numbered” and “indigenous” peoples as scientific categories and concepts that inform sociopolitical reality. The methods of historiographic, terminological, conceptographic and comparative analysis, logical and analytical procedures for problematization and thematization of the terms “small” and “indigenous” peoples, historical-legal and historical-typological methods based on specific historical material allowed us to show the permanent migration of peoples to different regions of the world with their subsequent rooting in a new territory and interaction with previously arrived peoples, to reveal a number of contradictions in the interpretation of the question of, who should be considered as indigenous ethnic group in a particular territory. The analyzed data set indicates the obvious ambiguity and relativity of indigenous ideas about the primordial habitat of ethnic groups. A critical analysis of the use of the term “indigenous peoples” in modern sciences and legal documents has led to the conclusion that it does not meet the criteria of a scientific concept or category and is often associated with the mytho-construction of national histories. Its use as a tool of scientific knowledge and a navigator of socio-political or national orientations is not heuristically promising. In the context of the regulation of inter-ethnic relations, the term “indigenous peoples” is fraught with conflict-causing potential and may act as a dangerous weapon in the arsenal of radical forces and those to whom their actions are politically beneficial. The materials and conclusions of the study are of practical importance for the protection of adequate value and semantic orientations of small-numbered peoples, clarification of scientific and legal terminology in the field of interethnic relations, increasing the effectiveness of ethno-cultural, ethno-political and ethno-sociological expertise.


Indigenous researches, interethnic relationships, ethnos, ethnocultural integrity, originality, peculiarity, identity ethnic lifestyle, autochthons, minority ethnic groups, “ancestral territory”, myth construction.


1 Abashidze A. Kh., Ananidze F. R. Pravovoi status men'shinstv i korennykh narodov: mezhdunarodno-pravovoi analiz [The Legal Status of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples: International Legal Analysis]. Moscow, Rossiiskii universitet druzhby narodov Publ., 1997. 224 p. (In Russian)

2 Ananidze F. R. Mezhdunarodno-pravovye problemy zashchity prav korennykh narodov [International Legal Issues of Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: PhD Dissertation]. Moscow, 1996. 190 p. (In Russian)

3 Bikbov A. T. Grammatika poriadka: Istoricheskaia sotsiologiia poniatii, kotorye meniaiut nashu real'nost' [Grammar of Order: Historical Sociology of Concepts that Change our Reality]. 2nd ed. Moscow, Izdatel'skii dom Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki Publ., 2016. 429 p. (In Russian)

4 Garipov R. Sh. Zashchita korennykh narodov v mezhdunarodnom prave [Protection of Indigenous Peoples in International Law]. Kazan', Tsentr innovatsionnykh tekhnologii Publ., 2012. 256 p. In: Ruslangaripov.com. Available at: http://ruslangaripov.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Ruslan-Garipov.-Monograph-Book.-Indigenous-Peoples-in-International-Law-2012.pdf (accessed 01 February 2021). (In Russian)

5 Golobokova Ia. A. Nepravitel'stvennye inostrannye organizatsii kak instrument vozdeistviia na korennye malochislennye narody Severa Rossii [Non-Governmental Foreign Organizations as an Instrument of Influence on the Indigenous Peoples of the North of Russia]. Vlast', 2009, no 3, pp. 43–47. (In Russian)

6 Gorbunov S. N. K voprosu ob opredelenii poniatiia “korennoi narod” v mezhdunarodnom prave [On the Issue of the Concept “Indigenous People” Definition in the International Law]. In: Pravo i obshchestvo: sbornik nauchnykh trudov [Law and Society: a Collection of Scientific Papers]. Arkhangel'sk, Arkhangel'skii gosudarstvennyi tekhnicheskii universitet Publ., 2009, pp. 33–42. (In Russian)

7 Gorbunov S. N., Zadorin M. Iu. Korennye narody i ustoichivoe razvitie: monografiia [Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Development: Monograph]. Arkhangel'sk, Severnyi (Arkticheskii) federal'nyi universitet imeni M. V. Lomonosova Publ., 2014. 358 p. (In Russian)

8 Ziganshin I. R. Konstitutsionno-pravovoi status obshchestvennykh ob"edinenii korennykh narodov arkticheskikh gosudarstv: sravnitel'no-pravovoi analiz [Constitutional and Legal Status of Indigenous Peoples Public Associations of the Arctic States: Comparative Legal Analysis: PhD Dissertation]. Moscow, 2016. 192 p. (In Russian)

9 Kriazhkov V. A. Korennye malochislennye narody Severa v rossiiskom prave [Indigenous Peoples of the North in Russian Law]. Moscow, Norma Publ., 2010. 559 p. (In Russian)

10 Kurkchi A. Dialog uchenykh: Kakov fenomen kul'tury malykh narodov Severa: L. N. Gumilev i A. P. Okladnikov [Dialogue of Scientists: What is the Culture Phenomenon of the North Small Peoples: L. N. Gumilev and A. P. Okladnikov]. Dekorativnoe iskusstvo SSSR, 1982, no 8, pp. 27–28. (In Russian)

11 Kuropiatnik M. S. Indigennost' v kontekste globalizatsii: epistemologicheskii i sotsiokul'turnyi aspekty [Indigeneity in the Context of Globalization: Epistemological and Socio-cultural Aspects]. Vestnik Rossiiskogo universiteta druzhby narodov. Series: Sotsiologiia [Sociology], 2019, vol. 19, no 3, pp. 387–396. (In Russian)

12 Kuropiatnik M. S. Korennye narody v protsesse sotsiokul'turnykh izmenenii [Indigenous Peoples in the Process of Socio-cultural Changes: DSc Dissertation]. St. Petersburg, 2006. 360 p. (In Russian)

13 Marr N. Ia. Armianskaia kul'tura: ee korni i doistoricheskie sviazi po dannym iazykoznaniia [Armenian Culture: its Roots and Prehistoric Connections According to Linguistics], trans. from Armenian; introd. by O. T. Ganalaniana. Erevan, Aiastan Publ., 1990. 53 p. Available at: http://www.iatp.am/culture/articles/marr.html (accessed 01 February 2021). (In Russian)

14 Napso M. B. O spetsifike reglamentatsii prava na samobytnost' dlia korennykh narodov I men'shinstv [On the Specifics of the Right to Identity Regulation for Indigenous Peoples and Minorities]. Aktual'nye problemy rossiiskogo prava, 2008, no 1 (6), pp. 38–44. (In Russian)

15 Napso M. B. Pravo na etnicheskuiu identichnost': pravovye i sotsial'no-filosofskie aspekty priznaniia v sovremennykh usloviiakh [The Right to Ethnic Identity: Legal and Socio-philosophical Aspects of Recognition in Modern Conditions]. Gosudarstvo i pravo, 2011, no 8, pp. 20–25. (In Russian)

16 Napso M. B. Pravo narodov na razlichie [The right of peoples to difference]. In: Voprosy teorii i praktiki rossiiskoi pravovoi nauki. Materialy IV mezhdunarodnoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii, mart 2008 g., g. Penza. [Issues of Theory and Practice of the Russian Legal Science. Proceedings of the IV International Scientific and Practical Conference, March 2008, Penza]. Penza, ANOO “Privolzhskii Dom znanii” Publ., 2008, pp. 173–176. (In Russian)

17 Napso M. B. [Modern View on the Role and Significance of the Right to Identity]. Zakon i pravo, 2008, no 2, pp. 37–40. (In Russian)

18 Pimenova N. N. Mekhanizmy sotsiokul'turnykh izmenenii korennykh etnosov Severa i Sibiri: sotsial'no-filosofskii analiz [Mechanisms of Socio-cultural Changes of the North and Siberia Indigenous Ethnic Groups of: Socio-philosophical Analysis: PhD Dissertation]. Krasnoiarsk, 2015. 183 p. (In Russian)

19 Sokolova F. Kh. Korennye narody: kontsept, sushchnost', soderzhanie [Indigenous Peoples: Concept, Essence, Content]. Vestnik Severnogo (Arkticheskogo) federal'nogo universiteta. Series: Gumanitarnye I sotsial'nye nauki [Humanities and Social Sciences], 2012, no 6, pp. 23–27. (In Russian)

20 Sokolovskii S. V. Aborigennost' i prava na territoriiu: antropologicheskie i biogeograficheskie paralleli [Aboriginality and Rights to Territory: Anthropological and Biogeographic Parallels]. Ab Imperio, 2010 (3), pp. 320–321. (In Russian)

21 Sokolovskii S. V. Korennye narody: ot politiki strategicheskogo essentsializma k printsipu sotsial'noi spravedlivosti [Indigenous Peoples: from the Policy of Strategic Essentialism to the Principle of Social Justice]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 2008, no 4, pp. 59–76. (In Russian)

22 Sokolovskii S. V. Chto znachit byt' korennym? Mezhdunarodnye podkhody i pravovoi status “korennykh narodov” [What does it Mean to be Indigenous? International Approaches and the Legal Status of “Indigenous Peoples”]. In: Etnopoliticheskaia situatsiia v Rossii i sopredel'nykh gosudarstvakh v 2009 godu. Ezhegodnyi doklad Seti etnologicheskogo monitoringa i rannego preduprezhdeniia konfliktov [The Ethnopolitical Situation in Russia and Neighboring Countries in 2009. Annual Report of the Network of Ethnological Monitoring and Early Warning of Conflicts], ed. by V. A. Tishkova and V. V. Stepanova. Moscow, Institut etnologii i antropologii imeni N. N. Miklukho-Maklaia RAN Publ., 2010, pp. 147–159. (In Russian)

23 Khariuchi S. N. Korennye malochislennye narody: problemy zakonodatel'stva [Indigenous Peoples: Problems of Legislation], scientific expert B. S. Krylov. Tomsk, Tomskii universitet Publ., 2004. 360 p. (In Russian)

24 Alfredsson G. International Discussion of the Concerns of Indigenous Peoples: The United Nations and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Current Anthropology, April, 1989, vol. 30, no 2, pp. 255–259. (In English)

25 Anaya J. S. Indigenous People in International Law. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 9–13. (In English)

26 Anaya J. S. Indigenous People in International Law. 2nd ed. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004. 396 p. (In English)

27 Barsh R. Indigenous Peoples: An Emerging Object of International Law. American Journal of International Law, 1986, vol. 80, pp. 369–385. (In English)

28 Bowen J. R. Should we have a Universal Concept of `Indigenous Peoples Rights`?: Ethnicity and Essentialism in the Twenty-first Century. Anthropology Today, 2000, vol. 16, no 4, p. 13. (In English)

29 Bradford W. M. The Struggle for Recognition: Comparing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Minority Groups in International and Domestic Law. Ottawa, University of Ottawa Publ., 2002. 237 p. (In English)

30 Clifford J. R. Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2013. 376 p. (In English)

31 Daes E.-I. A. Indigenous Peoples and their Relationship to Land / Final Working Paper Prepared by the Special Rapporteur, Mrs. Erica-Irene A. Daes. Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Indigenous Peoples and Minorities. 11 June, 2001 — E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/21. New York, Geneva, UN Publ., 2001. 77 p. United Nation Digital Library. Available at: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/445803?ln=ru#record-files-collapse-header (accessed 01 February 2021). (In English)

32 Daes E.-I. A. On the Concept of Indigenous People. Working Paper by the Chairperson-Rapporteur, 10 June, 1996, E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/21 / United Nations. Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Working Group on Indigenous Populations. 1996. United Nation Digital Library. Available at: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/236429#record-files-collapse-header (accessed 01 February 2021). (In English)

33 Daes E.-I. A. Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous People. Daes E.-I. A. Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, 21 June, 1995 — E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/26 / Human Rights Study Series. No. 10. New York, Geneva, UN Publ., 1997. 30 p. United Nation Digital Library. Available at: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/248430 (accessed 01 February 2021). (In English)

34 Daes E.-I. A. The United Nations and Indigenous People from 1969 to 1994. Becoming Visible-Indigenous Politics and Self-Government. Proceedings of the Conference on Indigenous Politics and Self-Government 8–10, November 1993. Tromse, Norway, The University of Tromse — Sami Dutkamiid Guovddas, Centre for Sami Studies Publ., 1995, pp. 51–55. (In English)

35 Groenfeldt D. The Future of Indigenous Values: Cultural Relativism in the Face of Economic Development. Future, November, 2003, vol. 35, issue 9, pp. 917–929. (In English)

36 Hannum H. Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Self-Determination. Human Rights: An Agenda for the Next Century, ed. by L. Henkin and J. L. Hargrow. Washington, ASIL Publ., 1994. 524 p. (In English)

37 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights Over Their Ancestral Lands and Natural Recourses: Norms and Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Human Rights System. Washington, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Publ., 2010. 235 p. (In English)

38 Indigenous Peoples. Resource Management and Global Rights, ed. by S. Jentoft, H. Minde, R. Nilsen. Delft, Eburon Academic Publishers Publ., 2003. 315 p. (In English)

39 Indigenous Peoples. Self-Determination. Knowledge. Indigeneity, ed. by H. Minde. Eburon, Eburon Akademik Publ., 2007. 382 p. (In English)

40 Justice Pending: Indigenous Peoples and Other Good Causes: Essays in Honour of Erica-Irene A. Daes, ed. by G. Alfredsson, M. Stavropoulou. London, New York, Kluwer Law Intrnatiolnal; Brill Publ., 2002. 418 p. (In English)

41 Kingsbury B. Reconciling Five Competing Conceptual Structures of Indigenous Peoples’ Claim in International and Comparative Law. Peoples’ Rights, ed. by P. Alston. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001. 329 p. (In English)

42 Merlan F. Indigeneity: Global and Local. Current Anthropology, June, 2009, vol. 50, no 3, pp. 303–333. (In English)

43 Mosolova L. M., Bondarev A. V., Zykin A. V. “Indigenous Peoples” As a Concept of Scientific and Educational Discourses: Terminology and Interpretation Problems. Psychology and Education, 2021, vol. 58 (3), pp. 31–50. https://doi.org/10.17762/pae.v58i3.2469 (In English)

44 Niezen R. A World Beyond Difference. Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 225 p. (In English)

45 Niezen R. The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity. Berkeley, CA Publ., 2003. 263 p. (In English)

46 Oguamanam Ch. International Law and Indigenous Knowledge. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2006. 376 p. (In English)

47 Pinero L. R. Indigenous peoples, Postcolonialism, and International Law. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005. 410 p. (In English)

48 Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ed. by D. Iveson, P. Patton, W. Sanders. Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Press, 2000, рр. 36–59. (In English)

49 Swepston L. A New Step in the International Law on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples: ILO Convention No. 169 of 1989. Oklahoma City University Law Review, 1990, vol. 15, no 3, pp. 696–710. (In English)

50 The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Marine Areas, ed. by S. Allen, N. Bankes, Ø. Ravna. Oxford, Hart Publ., 2019. 432 p. (In English)

51 Waldron J. Indigeneity? First Peoples and Last Occupancy. New Zealand Journal of Public Law, 2003, vol. 1, no 1, pp. 55–88. (In English)