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Understanding of Indigenous Identity

Understanding of Indigenous Identity

Understanding of Indigenous Identity

The majority of Africans coexist peacefully with their neighbours, but the continent is also infamous for its bloody, violent intergroup and ethnic warfare, which has claimed the lives of millions of people. History has demonstrated that ethnic conflict, or conflict based on ethnicity, is frequently the catalyst for violent expression and action. The African nations have passed legislation to help them recognize and control the conflict that exists within their borders because they are aware of it. There are still issues that threaten stability and peace. Sub-Saharan African nations have a particularly volatile combination of insecurity, instability, corruption, and poverty, and this has caused conflict between different ethnic groups for few resources. In order to explain the likely root of conflicts in this area and the potential solutions to help with conflict management and reduction, particularly in Nigeria, I will be looking at applying the theories of intergroup conflicts.

Governments in nations like Nigeria and South Africa have not shied away from pursuing audacious constitutional measures to address the crises that have transpired in those nations. According to reports, the multiethnic populations in these countries are the core cause of the disputes, which have deep-seated, complicated conflicts that have fast grown to become full-fledged wars.

Taking Nigeria as an example, the Biafran War began on July 6, 1967, and lasted until January 15, 1970. Because it ultimately involved the Nigerian government and the breakaway state of Biafra, it is now referred to as the Nigerian civil war. Key terms, including ethnic, political, economic, cultural, and religious conflicts and division, are linked to the war. Colonialism and the 1914 merger of the North and South of Nigeria into one state under the leadership of Lord Laggard, who had been chosen as the nation’s governor general by Great Britain, are factors in the civil war. The cultures of the people in the North and the South differed greatly, which caused a gap in the union. The southern region of the country then experienced the discovery of crude oil, while the northern region, which was more organized, was in charge of the administration and, consequently, the prosperity brought about by the crude oil. The Southerners believed that since they produced the oil, they should have more say over its earnings or, at the very least, feel the benefit on their own people and land. Southerners planned a coup de tat to take control of the government because they felt ignored. This was unsuccessful because a head of state from the North appeared, giving the Northerners the confidence to drive away the Southerners who belonged to a different culture and spoke a different language. They carried this out by assassinating any Southerners living in the North and transporting their corpses, along with those of their families, back to the South using the nation’s rail system of connections.

The situation escalated into a full-fledged war when the Southerners responded by committing the same heinous crimes against Northerners in the South. At the time of the nation’s separation from the British, there were over 60 million people living there, with the Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo making up about 70% of the population and having their own distinct organizational structures and customs. The Sultan of the Hausa people exercised absolute political and religious authority. The Igbos, on the other hand, were on a separate plane; the men might occupy a position of respect based on wealth or social rank, whereas the other tribes were bound by inheritance. The Yorubas did have a head monarch but did not have the same amount of dictatorial control. It wasn’t easy to manage the Igbos, who were more individualistic and believed in personal achievement even though they were still adhering to communal values and goals to maintain peace in their region. The political systems in the North and West allowed for better controlling tactics by the colonialists because they passed down authority through the leaders of the region. Political parties were created following the amalgamation along regional lines.

Researchers have shown that social categorization serves as the precursor to bias, inequality, and ethnocentrism. What does social classification mean? It occurs when individuals are categorized into groups that are dissimilar to their own based on traits like outer appearance, religion, ethnicity, and other factors. They go even further by designating the individuals who make up their group as either us, an in-group member, or them, an out-group member. They think members of the in-group are quite similar to them and share many of the same values and social norms, believing that those in the out-group are not as complex as they are. This is the beginning of intergroup bias, which causes conflicts (Brigham & Berkowitz, 1978; Judd & Park, 1988; Linville & Jones, 1980; Park & Rothbart, 1982; Quattrone & Jones, 1980; Simon & Brown, 1987). This was particularly clear in the ethnic divisions that existed in Nigeria, where one ethnic group saw the other as an outsider despite the fact that they both shared the same name for their country. They did not enjoy equal footing and were constantly attempting to impose their self-identity while competing for scarce resources.

The need to be seen favourably causes an in-group member to want to be seen favourably by the other in-group members but not really care about out-groupers, according to social categorization, which is also known as categorization theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). The social identity theory explains how people identify themselves and how that identification influences their daily lives. This could be through their familial status, their religion, their participation in sports, or just general group membership. This is typically correlated with the person’s sense of self-worth and overall success in all that they undertake. Members of underrepresented groups are crucial to achieving societal change as a whole. Self-categories provide their group members with more benefits, show more appreciation for them, and identify them with more good qualities. It is unknown if these characteristics result from in-group enhancement and out-group depreciation (e.g. Holtz, 1989; Rosenbaum & Holtz, 1985). The collective pronouns that are used to contrast the in-group and the out-group, such as we vs them, ours versus theirs, they versus them, etc., are still recognized by social cognition (Allport, 1954; Brewer, 1979; Tajfel, 1970; Turner etaUl 987; Wilder, 1981).

When these positive or negative words are linked with other words used to describe a group, they produce powerful affective traits and descriptive features of their own, according to associative learning and classical conditioning. The in-group and out-group descriptors affect how information is processed; therefore, an in-group designator like us does have a positive connotation and beneficial connections. Automatic processing for attitudes activates a person’s attitude even without a reflexive response on their side.

As stated by Brown and Turner (1981), “intense intergroup conflict forces group members to behave within certain group confines for assimilation and protection.” There is also the option of interpersonal versions of intergroup behaviour, also known as interpersonal interaction of characteristic relationships.

A biased opinion is a judgment about someone that is not supported by any facts, logic, or personal experience. A stereotype is a widely held opinion about a particular group of people that is not founded on any actual facts. Prejudice and stereotypes have the impact of preventing a group from having equal access to opportunities through behaviours and actions.

These conflicts, which are the result of the in-group and out-group paradigm and separate from the division in Nigeria, where all groups perceived themselves and their cultures as ethnocentric and, as a result, created an unequally yoked environment, lead to prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. In our society today, prejudice and discrimination are still very common. Even in Nigeria, there are communities where women are expected to be seen rather than heard, and women do not receive the same income as men. Yet measuring discriminatory ideas is getting harder since individuals are less willing to support overtly prejudicial statements (McConahay, 1986). Political correctness prevents us from publicly displaying this explicit bias that we might all have towards one another. Implicit bias is the involuntary, concealed prejudice that people have against other people or groups; it is impacted by culture, society, and even family. Several ways of expressing an implicit prejudice or behaviour could be used.

In Nigeria, which has a population of over 100 million people and over 500 ethnic groups, stereotypes have developed that influence how people behave. For example, in the southwestern region of the nation, where the indigenous Yoruba people live, there is the perception that they are filthy and promiscuous, which is unfavourable, but there is also the perception that they are well-educated and exposed. When a Yoruba offers someone from another ethnic group food, they are more likely to decline and claim they are not hungry when the real reason is that they don’t trust the offeror.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT), which was developed to explore the degree to which people relate to intergroup and explicit measures of attitude, is a test that has been developed to measure implicit behaviour. The IAT gauges participants’ reactions by using racially stereotypical stimulus words or adjectives with evaluative connotations (e.g., Jamal and Sue Ellen). The IAT has been shown to be effective because of its enormous size effect and the fact that people actually do end up sharing their implicit ideas, which have shown partiality for in group members regarding age, sex, race, and in this case, religion and ethnicity (Greenwald et al., 1998; Rudman, Greenwald, Mellott, & Schwartz, 1999).

With explicit behaviours, there is conscious awareness of how the attitude is conveyed. Explicit behaviour is the feeling we have toward an item, which may be good or negative.

They are intentionally shaped and simple to self-report. When it comes to Nigerians and their ethnicity, when it is learned that you speak the language of a particular group, group members perceive this as you move from the bad to the good. Even now, more than 50 years after the events of the American Civil War, many Northerners and Southerners still express their unease near one another. They do this by connecting historical events to the present. Implicit and explicit attitudes can be at odds with one another; what people think they believe is not always the attitude that is unintentionally displayed.

In this multiethnic society, implicit attitudes have also contributed to the successes and failures of particular groups. For example, in a nation where everyone is black, many people have faced discrimination on the basis of their language, ethnicity, and outward appearance. Although the government has implemented numerous laws and organizations to help decrease this, the repercussions have included economic and educational attainment, general social well-being, and even mortality.

In this study, Sherif et al. (1961) discussed the essential component that determines intergroup conflict. He identified The Realistic Conflict theory as the fight for limited resources that results in intergroup conflict.

Realistically, it is believed that the objectives of the other group impede the goals of the first, leading to stereotypes and negative attitudes toward the first group. According to the social categorization theory, there are three approaches to lessen bias, which in turn reduces conflict. These are reciprocal differentiation, decategorization, and re-categorization.

Re-categorization involves consciously altering how the group was first classified in order to categorize the scenario differently. Tajfel and Turner (1979; also see Brewer, 1988; Brewer & Miller, 1984; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Wilder, 1978) developed a continuum that aids in self-identification or group affiliation, which can help reframe the perception of the group’s boundaries and lessen bias and conflict within the group. Reduced in-group and out-group salience is essential to the success of re-categorization in eradicating prejudice. Re-categorization aims to categorize the group at a higher degree of category inclusivity than what it is now categorized as. This includes assisting groups in realizing that a person can belong to more than one group. Cognitively and motivationally, the earlier present preference for one group is extended to the out-group because they have a common group identity when re-categorization identifies common identification goals across the groups. Re-categorization entails the change of pronouns from us and them to us, placement to lessen the group boundaries, and participation in activities that celebrate the subordinate group. Sherif and Sherif (1969, p. 288; see also Sherif, 1966) explain that intergroup cooperation allows the subgroups to amalgamate into one common subordinate group.

It’s easy to categorize people into groups that have negative connotations because it helps them in a group create impressions that are long-lasting, and understanding their goals and motivations can reduce bias (Brewe). However, when two separate groups come together and have personalized, self-revealing interactions, they will become friends, the previous out-group stereotypes will diminish, and the inter-group conflict will be reduced. Personalization prevents people from concentrating on their groups in terms of their individual selves, but it allows them to focus on our groups in terms of their group selves. Over time, repeated personalized interactions improve the values of the out-group to the in-group because this will be the new information used to categorize one another and contribute to the decategorization process. According to Bettencourt et al. (1992), for instance, contact that allowed for more personalized interactions (e.g., when cooperative interaction was person-focused rather than task focused) resulted in more favourable attitudes toward both other out-group members and the out-group members who were physically present in the contact situation. The emergence of new views is then facilitated structurally by an interaction between the groups, which aims to lessen distinctions and foster interpersonal relationships. In this categorization model, relationships should be based on personal interactions rather than group dynamics, comparisons should be made between oneself and others, there should be self-revealing interactions, and there shouldn’t be any standardization in how other groups are to be treated.

Similar to the dual identity representation, the mutual intergroup differentiation suggests that group distinctiveness be maintained even during group collaboration, but group identity be shared at a different, more inclusive level. We, which is much more inclusive, is used instead of them and us when there is such intergroup cooperation. Additional research has demonstrated the benefits of dual identity representation in contact scenarios. Therefore, mutual differentiation promotes organizations to highlight their shared distinctiveness within the context of equal cooperative distinctiveness (Hewstone & Brown, 1986). By highlighting each group’s strengths and limitations, the individual contributions of each member can be recognized. This is best explained by comparing it to the division of labour, where each person has a specific job in completing the total. There is no overlap in the roles, yet each component is necessary for success. In order to maintain original boundaries, respect for individuality, and cooperative equality, use the mutual intergroup model.


The Nigerian government has attempted to implement changes that will provide equal opportunity to its indigenous people regardless of their religious or ethnic background and has implemented regulations and laws that are supposed to assist in minimizing prejudice and discrimination, but this has not actually worked. Recent protests against marginalization by the dominant North have taken place in the country’s southern region, where crude oil is exploited. While the northerners continue to enjoy progress due to the riches that are generated in their area, they have complained about their poverty and lack of basic facilities. War and unrest have resulted as a result, and the populace has once more demanded their own government so they may control their own resources. The Nigerian government, however, has refused to comply with this demand because crude oil is the main source of wealth for the entire nation. This reminds me a lot of the events that started the American Civil War in the 1960s.

The mutual intergroup differentiation concept is the answer to reducing this conflict. With this, the boundaries between the various groups will be respected, and each group will be valued for what it contributes, leading to the development of mutual respect. Additionally, there will be no role duplication, and the ongoing communication will lessen hostility and foster understanding between the groups with dependability that demonstrates the significance of both groups.


Abubakar A. Atofarati: (CSC 1992) . The Nigerian Civil War, Causes, Strategies, And Lessons Learnt

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Writing is a continuous part of the fieldwork conducted by an anthropologist. It occurs when the anthropologist observes and records information about the community being studied in the form of field notes. These research notes are then compiled into a larger scaled assignment or ethnographic document. In Week 1, you studied the various approaches to anthropology and presented a brief summary of your current understanding of what indigenous means. This week, you identify at least one indigenous group for your field study and provide reasons why you selected this group.

Understanding of Indigenous Identity

Understanding of Indigenous Identity


  • Review the assigned readings in the course texts.
  • Summarize your current understanding of indigenous identity.
  • Select one indigenous group from either Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Pacific Islands, or South America.


1- to 2 page in which you do the following:

  • Identify the indigenous group that you have selected and the region the group lives in.
  • Explain your reasoning of why this group is considered indigenous.


  • Peters-Golden, H. P. (2012). Culture sketches: Case studies in anthropology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
    • Chapter 5, “The Hmong: Struggle and Perseverance” (pp. 81-101)
    • Chapter 13, “The Tiwi: Tradition in Australia” (pp. 233-263)

For a basic world map that might help in locating indigenous cultures, use one of the following websites, or another source of your choosing:

The following websites and articles may be useful for your research on indigenous cultures:


  • Sapignoli, M., & Hitchcock, R. K. (2013). Indigenous peoples in Southern Africa. The Round Table, 102(4), 355–365.



  • Keen, I. (2000). A bundle of sticks: The debate over Yolngu clans. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 6(3), 419–436.
  • Dudgeon, P., Wright, M., Paradies, Y., Garvey, D., & Walker, I. (2010). The social, cultural and historical context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.Links to an external site. In Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice (pp. 25–42). Retrieved from






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