The term Indigenous Peoples or autochthonous peoples can be used to describe any ethnic group who inhabit a geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection, alongside migrants which have flooded the region and which are greater in number.However, several widely-accepted formulations, which define the term "Indigenous peoples" in stricter terms, have been put forward by prominent and internationally-recognized organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. Indigenous peoples in this article is used in such a narrower sense.
Drawing on these, a contemporary working definition of "Indigenous peoples" for certain purposes has criteria which would seek to include cultural groups (and their continuity or association with a given region, or parts of a region, and who formerly or currently inhabit the region either:
before its subsequent colonization or annexation; or
alongside other cultural groups during the formation of a nation-state; or
independently or largely isolated from the influence of the claimed governance by a nation-state,
and who furthermore:
have maintained at least in part their distinct linguistic, cultural and social / organizational characteristics, and in doing so remain differentiated in some degree from the surrounding populations and dominant culture of the nation-state.
To the above, a criterion is usually added to also include:
peoples who are self-identified as indigenous, and/or those recognised as such by other groups.
Note that even if all the above criteria are fulfilled, some people may either not consider themselves as indigenous or may not be considered as indigenous by governments, organizations or scholars.