Introduction 1. In the thirty-year history of indigenous issues at the United Nations, and the longer history in the ILO on this question, considerable thinking and debate have been devoted to the question of definition of “indigenous peoples”, but no such definition has ever been adopted by any UN-system body. One of the most cited descriptions of the concept of the indigenous was given by Jose R. Martinez Cobo, the Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in his famous Study on the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous Populations.1 Significant discussions on the subject have been held within the context of the preparation of a Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples2 by the Working Group on Indigenous Populations since 1982. An understanding of the concept of “indigenous and tribal peoples” is contained in article 1 of the 1989 Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, No. 169, adopted by the International Labour Organization.