<<original inhabitants>>

This relates to the first inhabitants, the people who for generations originally lived in a place, rather than those who immigrated by moving there from somewhere else. These local groups have their own distinctive cultural and social traditions.

Throughout world history there has been a constant movement of people from various regions to those occupied by others. Colonization is the term given to the process of establishing control over targeted territories or peoples for the purpose of control, cultivation or gain access to resources, and often involved settling there. Seldom has this resulted in a mutual assimilation of the two cultures into a harmonious new blend but has been a ploy of the enemy to bring division. Mostly there has been the domination of the invading colonialism or imperialism extending its dominion over and imposing their values on the local native people groups. Raw materials and resources were plundered and while there was some gain by way of trade and technology the impact impinged on the rights of the vulnerable indigenous people who were exploited. Missionary activity was generally an interwoven part of such expansionism. Unfortunately, in the past most aspects of the indigenous culture (deemed backward and wicked) were insensitively eradicated or replaced by the imported values.  

Today, evangelical missionaries are much more careful to study the culture they are entering, respecting and allowing for indigenous expressions of faith, without changing the essential message provided the cultural beliefs

Communicate the gospel sensitively

and practices are compatible with the Bibles teaching. The bottom line is God loves all people, of whatever ethnicity and Jesus offers them salvation if they will accept but it is at the exclusion of all other belief systems. We are to love our neighbour (those different to us) as ourselves and do only to them what we would like done to us (Mk 12:31; Lk 6:31). The call of God remains, "really change your ways and actions and deal with each other justly..." (Jer 7:5-7).

Indigenous peoples generally have a finely attuned awareness of the spiritual realm, having a close affinity to the earth and invariably worship physical features of their environment (animism) along with worship of their dead ancestors, yet this evil spirit dimension is opposed to God's. 

With the resurgence of attention and accommodating of these repressed people groups, their artefacts, carvings, languages and customs along with the emphasis on traditional evil spirit practices are being welcomed and incorporated into society opening it up to these wrong spiritual influences.

See also: ancestor worship, animism, critical race theory, culture, ethical relativism, evil spirits, false religions, race/racism, social justice, spirit realm, spiritualism.