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Indigenous People and Human Rights

Introduction: UDHR and Acculturation

The second article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that regardless of race, gender, language, opinion, and many other things that distinguish people, everyone is entitled to rights without restriction (United Nations. General Assembly, 2). This article is critical when considering the process of acculturation when two or more cultures collide within the same country and each change while maintaining its core characteristics (Ward, 221). According to the second article of the declaration, indigenous people and guests or new permanent residents of the same territory have precisely the same rights. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in life. This work examines what rights a person has in the process of acculturation, how acculturation affects the indigenous people of many countries, and its tendencies in the modern world.

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Australia Case

The acculturation process is often unplanned and decentralized. The case of Australia is one of the most successful examples. When migrants arrived in a new country, they were greeted with skepticism. Still, at the moment, Australia is one of the most multicultural countries, the indigenous people of which have changed their minds towards multiculturalism (Jin et al., 2003). This case is unique since Australia has experienced problems with national self-identification for a long time. However, nothing is surprising because migrants have been the main driver of cultivation in modern times and almost always. It is the process of migration that is inextricably linked with the development of cultures in any territory, and this process often carries a lot of problems.

Acculturation and Migration

People do not always migrate for good reasons – for study, work, family. Very often, people are forced to flee their home country, where their human rights were not respected; they were surrounded by cruelty, aggression, injustice, and poverty (Hasanović, Šmigalović & Fazlović, 386). According to Article 13 of the UDHR, everyone has the right to freely leave and return to their country (United Nations. General Assembly, 3). However, in the new government, poor migrants are forced to live on the streets and find it difficult to find work. This problem has especially clearly swept Europe in recent years, as migrants experience a lot of inconveniences, including psychological ones due to the language barrier and a different way of life and the indigenous people. Children who migrated at an early age either join a new culture or go into rejection and develop deviant behavior that leads to future crimes.

Mental Health

The mental health of immigrants is a significant source of both good and evil thoughts. Any crime violates this or that human right. In this regard, the process of acculturation must be accompanied by measures at the state level that will monitor the psychological state of both migrants and any indigenous people who need help in this problem (Hasanović, Šmigalović & Fazlović, 389). First, social adaptation can be achieved through education or employment. Secondly, migrants often do not know thoroughly the country’s legal system and cultural values to which they are moving or are forced to move. These aid organizations are responsible for educating migrants about their rights, help cope with stress, and doing their best to help them adapt to their new country.

Indigenous People

Acculturation also affects the indigenous people, developing a sense of tolerance in them and partly mixing with the new culture. Historically, minority cultures have tended to shift the focus of indigenous peoples away from the image of “conquering countries” (Berry, 100). In addition, many wars before that sharpened the culture of small countries in their way. A considerable number of times, human rights, including the most fundamental right to life, have been violated in the framework of wars, religious conflicts, abuse of authority by the authorities. However, all these events have created the indigenous people of the countries in our time as they are – with a unique national experience and, as a rule, open to new cultures.

Human Rights: Social Problems

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are now many problems, one way or another, related to discrimination and racism, and only a few of them are presented on the slide. Every issue violates human rights, and every problem concerns indigenous people. Historically, the colonial approach and slavery have long retained their influence on the native people of America and the people of color in the country. Echoes of those times continue to this day and are manifested, for example, in structural racism in the health sector or police abuse of power. The participation of indigenous people in solving this problem is necessary since human rights are violated. The entire American society is under the threat of these ailments, including children and adolescents just beginning to form their views on life. Although representatives of different races in America have long become indigenous to the country, acculturation still occurs since people’s lifestyles and traditions are different.

Digital Acculturation

A new term, “digital acculturation,” is now widely spread. Typically, this term is used concerning consumer culture (Dey, Yen & Samuel, 102057). However, since a significant percentage of communication, thanks to the development of technology, has moved to the online format, the research data can be extended to the study of sociological indicators and legal norms. Due to the pandemic, employees in many organizations switched to a remote mode of work, which also implies the transition of communication to unique platforms on the Internet. Such local manifestations of acculturation can be of interest to researchers since it is possible to observe and describe processes often invisible in a large sample. The development of technology has a rapid character in modern times and affects all spheres of society, including social sciences.

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Thus, acculturation is an exciting interactive process in both directions, within the framework of which there is still a whole new material field. The mass of examples around the world opens up the opportunity for in-depth analysis of each specific case since many social problems can be regulated by supporting the processes of adaptation and acculturation. Currently, the situation in the world is complicated by a pandemic, air traffic between many countries is closed, and therefore this process has been stopped in a global sense. However, considering the long-term aspect of acculturation, it can be argued that it always goes on since migrants constantly influence the culture of the indigenous people, nevertheless adapting to the traditions and foundations of life in the country. The main goal of such studies is to remind once again people of their rights, their equality and prevent the repetition of historical mistakes and future violations.


Berry, John W. Acculturation: A personal journey across cultures. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Dey, Bidit L., Dorothy Yen, and Lalnunpuia Samuel. “Digital consumer culture and digital acculturation.” International Journal of Information Management, vol. 51, 2020, p. 102057.

Hasanović, Mevludin, Dina Šmigalović, and Magbula Fazlović. “Migration and Acculturation: What We Can Expect in the Future.” Psychiatria Danubina, vol. 32, no. 3, 2020, pp. 386-395.

Jin, Kai, et al. “Acculturation is associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk-factors among Chinese immigrants in Australia: Evidence from a large population-based cohort.” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, vol. 24, no. 18, 2017, pp. 2000-2008.

United Nations. General Assembly. Universal declaration of human rights. Vol. 3381. Department of State, United States of America, 1949.

Ward, Colleen. “Models and measurements of acculturation.” Merging past, present, and future in cross-cultural psychology. Garland Science, 2020, pp. 221-230.

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