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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Indigenous Languages and Populations in "Latin" America: Other Indigenous Populations in L.A.

Other Indigenous Populations and Languages in Latin America

In 2010 the United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) estimated that the indigenous populations across Latin America reaches around 45 million people, distributed unevenly through the region. Other sources as the Instituto Indigenista Americano, and the Inter-American development bank have similar calculations. This global number of indigenous peoples is integrated by over 400 ethnic groups or communities, as stated by a publication on indigenous groups Mexico's National University. Mexico and Peru have the highest concentration of indigenous people, reaching 17 million and 7 million respectively (about 15.1% and 24% of the entire population). In smaller countries, or countries with smaller indigenous populations as Costa Rica and Paraguay, it has been estimated that the indigenous population is around 100,000 people. These populations have been historically underrepresented in national statistics, and have also endured marginalization and oppression.  This section of the guide provides users resources that serve as entry points to begin their research. 

Other Indigenous Populations and Languages in Latin America

Additional library resources on contemporary Indigenous Populations in Latin America are available here. Other material portraying more historical reading about colonial indigenous life is available here.

A large variety of resources on indigenous population from this region are available at the library. These include indigenous communities from Mexico, contemporary  and colonial Central America, and the Caribbean. Includes several resources accessible online. 

Additional resources at the library about indigenous communities in the Amazon are available here.


The library holds a large collection on this subject area. We encourage you to explore resources about colonial practices of "encomiendas" and "misiones".  Particular resources by country are available: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Guyana, and Surinam.

Resources on communities in the south cone, are available at the library. These include a large variety of material concerning the Mapuche communities in Chile, indigenous communities from northern Argentina, communities from Patagonia in Argentina and Chile, and communities from Uruguay and Paraguay.

Audiovisual Material

Through the Library's subscription to Kanopy streaming, all University community has access to a set of films and documentaries on Latin American Indigenous communities. This collection includes films on cultural traditions, archeological vestiges, territories and landscapes of native communities, changes and conflicts related with indigenous communities, among others.  These films showcase a broad range of Latin American countries, including Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, and South America


Assistant Professor and Librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies