Stateless nation

A stateless nation is an ethnic group or nation that does not possess its own state[1] and is not the majority population in any nation state.[2] The term "stateless" implies that the group "should have" such a state.[3][4] Members of stateless nations may be citizens of the country in which they live, or they may be denied citizenship by that country. Stateless nations are usually not represented in international sports or in international organisations such as the United Nations. Nations without state are classified as fourth-world nations.[5][6][7] Some of the stateless nations have a history of statehood, some were always a stateless nation, dominated by another nation.

The term was coined in 1983 by political scientist Jacques Leruez in his book L'Écosse, une nation sans État about the peculiar position of Scotland within the British state. It was later adopted and popularized by Scottish scholars such as David McCrone, Michael Keating and T. M. Devine.[8]

Stateless nations either are dispersed across a number of states (for example, the Yoruba people are found in the African states of Nigeria, Benin and Togo) or form the native population of a province within a larger state (such as the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region within the People's Republic of China). Some stateless nations historically had a state, which was absorbed by another; for example, Tibet's declaration of independence in 1913 was not recognized, and it was invaded in 1951 by the People's Republic of China which claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, while the Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under an unlawful occupation.[9][10] Some ethnic groups were once a stateless nation that later became a nation state (for example, the nations of the Balkans such as the Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, Slovenes, Montenegrins and Macedonians were once part of a multinational state of Yugoslavia; since the breakup of Yugoslavia many nation states were formed).

Stateless nations can have large populations; for example the Kurds have an estimated population of over 30 million people, which make them one of the largest stateless nations.[11] Multiple stateless nations can reside in the same geographical region or country; for example, Cantabrians, Bercians, Catalans, Canarians, Castillians, Basques, Aragonese, Galicians, Asturians, Valencians and Andalusians within Spanish State, or the Brahui, Rohingya, Assamese, Santhals, Maithils and Balochs in South Asia.[12] However, not all peoples within multi-cultural states have the same awareness of being a stateless nation. In Spain, only Basques and Catalans have claimed their right of self-determination, which in the Basque country gave rise to the militant movement ETA, and in the case of Catalonia, has led to multiple attempts to secede from Spain during the past four centuries, as an independent Catalan Republic.

As not all states are nation states, there are ethnic groups who live in multinational states without being considered "stateless nations".

Nation-states and nations without states

The symbiotic relationship between nations and states arose in early modern Western Europe (18th century) and it was exported to the rest of the world through colonial rule. Whereas the Western European nation-states are at present relinquishing some of their powers to the European Union, many of the former colonies are now the zealous defenders of the concept of national-statehood.[4]

Only a small fraction of the world's national groups have associated nation-states. The proportion was estimated to be 3 percent by Minahan. The rest are distributed in one or more states. Of the 192 member states of the United Nations in 2006, fewer than 20 are nation-states. Thus nation-states are not as common as often assumed, and stateless nations are the overwhelming majority of nations in the world.[4]

Consequences of colonialism and imperialism

During the imperial and colonial era, powerful nations extended their influence outside their homeland and this resulted in many colonized nations ceasing to be self-governing and have since been described as stateless nations.[13] Some nations have been victims of "carve out" and their homeland was divided among several countries. Even today the colonial boundaries form modern national boundaries. These often differ from cultural boundaries. This results in situations where people of the same language or culture are divided by national borders, for example New Guinea splits as West Papua (former Dutch colony) and Papua New Guinea (former British colony).[14] During decolonization, the colonial powers imposed a unified state structure irrespective of the ethnic differences and granted independence to their colonies as a multinational state. This led to successor states with many minority ethnic groups in them, which increased the potential for ethnic conflicts.[15][16][17][18] Some of these minority groups campaigned for self-determination. Stateless nations were not protected in all countries and become victims of atrocities such as discrimination, ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced assimilation, Exploitation of labour and natural resources.[19][20]

Nationalism and stateless nations

People with a common origin, history, language, culture, customs or religion can turn into a nation by awakening of national consciousness.[21] A nation can exist without a state, as is exemplified by the stateless nations. Citizenship is not always the nationality of a person.[22] In a multinational state different national identities can coexist or compete: for example, in Britain both English nationalism and Scottish nationalism exist and are held together by British nationalism.[23] Nationalism is often connected to separatism, because a nation achieves completeness through its independence.[24]

Throughout history, numerous nations declared their independence, but not all succeeded in establishing a state. Even today, there are active autonomy and independence movements around the world. The claim of the stateless nations to self-determination is often denied due to geopolitical interests and increasing globalization of the world.[25][26][27][28] Stateless nations sometimes show solidarity with other stateless nations and maintain diplomatic relations.[29][30]

Not all peoples claim that they are nations or aspire to be states. Some see themselves as part of the multinational state and they believe that their interests are well represented in it. This is also associated with Pan-nationalism (Indian nationalism or Chinese nationalism).[31]

Claims of stateless nations

The following is a list of stateless nations that meet these criteria:

People Flag Language Predominant religion Population (approx.) Continent States Homeland Irredentist movement Notes
KurdsKurdishIslam with minorities of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Yazdânism Deism and Agnosticism30,000,000–45,600,000[34][35](worldwide population including autonomous regions like Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava)AsiaIraq, Turkey, Iran and SyriaKurdistanKurdish nationalism, Kurdish–Turkish conflict, Kurdish-Iranian conflict, Iraqi–Kurdish conflict, and Kurdish–Syrian conflictRegional autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava.
Yoruba peopleYoruba languageChristianity, Islam35,000,000[36][37]AfricaNigeria, Benin and TogoYorubalandOodua Peoples Congress
Igbo peopleIgbo languageChristianity (primarily Roman Catholicism with significant Protestant minorities30,000,000[38]AfricaNigeriaBiafraMovement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Indigenous People of BiafraAttempted secession from Nigeria in 1967 sparked the Nigerian Civil war
Occitan peopleOccitan, French, Italian, SpanishRoman Catholicism16,000,000EuropeFrance, Monaco, Italy and Spain (Val d'Aran)OccitaniaOccitan nationalism (Occitan Party, Partit de la Nacion Occitana, Libertat)seek self-determination, greater autonomy or total secession from France.
Assamese peopleAssamese languageHinduism15,000,000[39]AsiaIndiaAssamAssam separatist movements, ULFA Insurgency in Northeast IndiaRegional autonomy in Assam.
Uyghur peopleUyghur languageIslam15,000,000[40]AsiaChina, Soviet Union (includes Kazakhstan(223,100 (2009)),Uzbekistan 55,220 (2008),Kyrgyzstan49,000 (2009),russia 3,700 (2010))[41]East Turkestan (Uyghuristan)Irredentism is politically fragmented (East Turkestan Liberation Organization, East Turkestan independence movement)Limited autonomy in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Palestinian people[42]ArabicIslam (majority), Christianity13,000,000AsiaWest Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Israel, Syria, LebanonPalestinePalestinian nationalism (PLO)Seek self-determination from occupying powers.
Zulu peopleZulu languageChristianity, Zulu religion12,159,000AfricaSouth Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, SwazilandKwaZulu-NatalInkatha Freedom PartyLimited autonomy in the KwaZulu-Natal region, which maintains a traditional Zulu king.
BavariansGerman, Bavarian Christianity (Roman Catholicism)12,500,000EuropeGermanyBavariaBavarian nationalism, Bavaria PartyNational devolution, further autonomy or total secession from Germany.
Kongo peopleKongo language, Lingala, Portuguese, French Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), African Traditional Religion10,000,000AfricaDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola KongoKongo nationalism, Bundu dia KongoHistorically occupied the independent Kingdom of Kongo.
Baloch peopleBalochiIslam10,000,000[43]AsiaPakistan, Iran and AfghanistanBalochistanBalochistan conflict, Baloch nationalism
Kabyle peopleKabyle language, Algerian ArabicIslam10,000,000[44]AfricaAlgeriaKabylieMovement for the Autonomy of Kabylie, Provisional Government of Kabylia
Ahwazi ArabsArabicIslam1,320,000[45]AsiaIranAl AhwazArab separatism in Khuzestan Democratic Solidarity Party of AhwazAhwazi includes 30 tribes which see themselves as a distinct Arab nation.[46] Seek self-determination, greater autonomy or total secession from Iran.
Andalusian peopleAndalusian Spanish, SpanishChristianity (Roman Catholicism)9,500,000EuropeSpainAndaluciaAndalusian nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain.
Puerto Rican peopleSpanish, EnglishChristianity (primarily Roman Catholicism)9,000,000AmericaUnited StatesPuerto RicoPuerto Rican Nationalist Party, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña, Boricua Popular Army, Puerto Rican Independence PartyUnincorporated territory of the United States.
Catalan, Spanish, Occitan, French, ItalianRoman Catholicism8,500,000[47]EuropeSpain, Italy and FranceCatalan CountriesCatalan independence movement, Catalan nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain.
QuébécoisFrench languageChristianity (Roman Catholicism)8,215,000AmericaCanadaQuebecQuebec sovereignty movementThe total population of the Province of Quebec is 8.2 million, of which over 80% are French speakers.
Mon peopleMon languageBuddhism8,145,500AsiaMyanmar, ThailandMon StateMon Nationalism, Mon National Party, All Mon Region Democracy PartyHistorically occupied the Mon kingdoms
CircassiansCircassian language, RussianIslam8,000,000EuropeRussiaCircassiaRusso-Circassian War, Circassian nationalismRegional autonomy in Circassia.
Swabians[48]Swabian German, GermanChristianity (Catholicism, Evangelical Church in Germany (Lutheranism, Calvinism))7,500,000 (est.)EuropeGermanySwabia (includes Bavarian Swabia)Swabian nationalism, Swabian LeagueSee also Schwabenhass
Hong Kong peopleHong Kong Cantonese, Hong Kong EnglishChinese folk religion7,184,000AsiaChinaHong KongHong Kong Autonomy Movement, Hong Kong independence movementSpecial administrative region with high degree of autonomy.
Karen peopleKaren languageChristianity, Theravada Buddhism7,000,000AsiaMyanmar, ThailandKawthooleiKaren nationalism, Karen National Union, Karen National Liberation Army
Maya peoplesMayan languagesChristianity (Catholicism), Maya religion7,000,000AmericaGuatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El SalvadorMesoamericaPan-Maya movement, Rigoberta Menchú, Zapatista Army of National LiberationHistorically occupied the Maya civilization
Volga TatarsTatar language, RussianIslam7,000,000EuropeRussiaTatarstanAll-Tatar Public CenterRegional autonomy in Tatarstan.
Tibetan peopleTibetan languageBuddhism7,000,000[49]AsiaChinaTibetTibetan independence movementLimited autonomy in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Indian GorkhasNepali languageHinduism6,360,000[50]AsiaIndiaGorkhastanGorkha National Liberation Front, Gorkha Janmukti MorchaGorkhaland is a proposed state in India demanded by the people of the Darjeeling Hills and the people of Gorkha ethnic origin on the Northern part of West Bengal.
Riffian peopleRiffian languageIslam6,000,000[51]AfricaMorocco and SpainRifRif War, Rif Republic95% of the land is controlled by Morocco with the rest being controlled by the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla as autonomous cities.
Shan peopleShan languageBuddhism6,000,000AsiaMyanmarShan StateShan State Army, Declaration of independence in 2005; see also Hso Khan Pha
Kashmiri peopleKashmiri languageIslam5,600,000AsiaIndia, Pakistan and ChinaKashmirInsurgency in Jammu and KashmirAdministered by India (Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh), Pakistan (Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan) and China (Aksai Chin).
WalloonsWalloon, French, PicardChristianity (Roman Catholicism)3,500,000EuropeBelgium, FranceWalloniaPartition of Belgium, Walloon MovementRegional autonomy in Wallonia; seeks independence from Belgium or union with France.
Lozi peopleLoziChristianity5,153,000AfricaZambiaBarotselandBarotse Patriotic Front[52]
ValenciansValencian, Catalan, SpanishRoman Catholicism[53]5,111,706EuropeSpainValencian CommunityValencian nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain.
Moro peopleFilipino language, other Philippine languagesIslam5,100,000AsiaPhilippinesBangsamoroNational Liberation Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front
FlemingsDutch, West Flemish, East Flemish, Picard, FrenchRoman Catholicism, Protestant minority (in Northern Flanders)7,000,000EuropeFrance, Belgium, NetherlandsFlanders (French Flanders, Pale of Calais, West Flanders, East Flanders, Tournaisis, Zeelandic Flanders)Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, Vlaams Belang, Flemish MovementIndependence and reunification of Flanders or union with the Netherlands.
Kuki-Mizo-Zo-Chin peopleKuki-Chin languagesChristianity5,000,000AsiaMyanmar, Bangladesh, IndiaMizoram, Zogam and Chin StateMizo National Front, Chin National Front, Kuki National Army, Zomi Revolutionary Army, Zomi nationalismKuki-Mizo-Zo-Chin are an ethnic group known by different names and speak different dialects.
Scottish peopleScottish Gaelic, Scots, EnglishChristianity (Protestantism, Catholic minority)5,000,000 (only Scotland)[54]EuropeUnited KingdomScotlandScottish independenceRegional autonomy in Scotland.
Sicilians[55]Sicilian, Italian, Gallo-Italic of Sicily, ArbëreshChristianity (Roman Catholicism)5,000,000 (only Sicily)EuropeItalySicilySicilian nationalismRegional autonomy in Sicily.
Acehnese peopleAcehnese languageIslam4,200,000[56]AsiaIndonesiaAcehInsurgency in AcehRegional autonomy in Aceh.
Hmong peopleHmong languageBuddhism with native4,000,000AsiaLaos, China, Vietnam and ThailandHmong ChaoFa Federated StateInsurgency in Laos
Normans Norman, French, English Christianity (Roman Catholicism) Between 3,500,000 and 6,000,000 Europe France, Jersey, Guernsey Normandy Mouvement Normand Regional autonomy, reunification of Normandy
Rohingya peopleRohingya languageIslam3,600,000AsiaMyanmarRohang StateRohingya conflictThe Rohingyas are not recognized as a native ethnic group by Burmese government.[57]
AfrikanersAfrikaansChristianity3,500,000AfricaSouth Africa and NamibiaVolkstaatAfrikaner Nationalism, Freedom FrontAfrikaners are an Ethno-racial group. Demand autonomy or total secession from South Africa.
Assyrian peopleAssyrian Neo-Aramaic, Turoyo, Chaldean Neo-AramaicChristianity (Chaldean Catholicism Syriac Christianity)3,300,000[58]AsiaSyria, Iraq, Iran and TurkeyAssyriaAssyrian nationalism, Assyrian independence movementHistorically occupied the Assyrian empire.
Breton peopleBreton, French, GalloChristianity (principally Roman Catholicism)3,120,288EuropeFranceBrittanyBreton nationalismHistorically occupied the Kingdom of Brittany
Basque peopleBasque, French, SpanishChristianity (Roman Catholicism)3,000,000[59]EuropeFrance and SpainBasque CountryBasque nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain.
Iraqi Turkmen peopleTurkish language, Azerbaijani languageIslam3,000,000AsiaIraqTurkmeneliIraqi Turkmen FrontNot to be confused with Syrian Turkmen of Latakia or Central Asian Turkmens of Turkmenistan who share only their ethnonym.[60]
Sri Lankan Tamils
Tamil languageHinduism (mostly Shaivism)3,000,000AsiaSri LankaTamil EelamSri Lankan Tamil nationalism, Tamil nationalism, LTTE, Sri Lankan Civil War, TGTE, Vaddukoddai ResolutionDemand autonomy in North Eastern Province or total secession from Sri Lanka.
Welsh peopleWelsh, EnglishChristianity (Protestantism)3,000,000EuropeUnited KingdomWalesWelsh independence, Welsh nationalism, Meibion Glyndŵr, Plaid CymruRegional autonomy in Wales.
Galician peopleGalician language, Spanish, PortugueseChristianity (Roman Catholicism)2,800,000EuropeSpainGalizaGalician nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain. Historically occupied the Kingdom of Galicia.
Kachin peopleJingpo, Zaiwa, Maru, Lashi, AziBuddhism, Christianity, Animism2,750,000 (2002)[61]AsiaMyanmarKachin StateKachin Independence Army, Kachin Independence Organisation, Kachin conflictThe tribes of Kachin Hills form the Kachin Nation.
Aragonese peopleAragonese language, SpanishChristianity (Roman Catholicism)2,278,000 (Spain only)[62]EuropeSpainAragonAragonese nationalismSee also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain. Historically occupied the Kingdom of Aragon.
Meitei peopleMeitei languageHinduism2,500,000AsiaIndiaManipurUNLF, PLA, Insurgency in Manipur, Anglo-Manipur WarHistorically occupied the Kingdom of Manipur.
Chechen peopleChechen language, RussianIslam2,000,000EuropeRussiaChechnyaChechen insurgency, Chechen Republic of IchkeriaRegional autonomy in Chechnya.
Naga peopleTibeto-Burman dialects / Nagamese creoleChristianity2,000,000AsiaIndiaNagalandNaga National Council, Insurgency in Northeast IndiaRegional autonomy in Nagaland.
Northern Irish people[63]English, Ulster Scots, IrishChristianity (Catholicism and Presbyterianism)1,810,863EuropeUnited KingdomNorthern IrelandUlster nationalism, Ulster Third Way, some factions of the Ulster Defence AssociationSeeks the independence of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom without joining the Republic of Ireland.
AlsatiansAlsatian, French, GermanChristianity (primarily Roman Catholicism, but also Protestantism)~1,800,000EuropeFranceAlsaceAlsace independence movement, Alsace First, Unser LandNational devolution, further autonomy or total secession from France.
Sardinian people[64][65][66][67]Sardinian, Corso-Sardinian, Italian, Catalan, LigurianChristianity (Roman Catholicism)1,661,521EuropeItalySardiniaSardinian nationalismNational devolution, further autonomy or total secession from Italy.
Canarian peopleGuanche language (extinct), SpanishChristianity (Roman Catholicism)1,600,000AfricaSpainCanary IslandsCanarian nationalismNational devolution, further autonomy or total secession from Mainland Spain.
Ryukyuan peopleRyukyuan, JapaneseBuddhism1,600,000[68]AsiaJapanRyukyu IslandsRyukyu independence movementHistorically occupied the Ryukyu Kingdom.
FrisiansFrisian, Dutch, German, DanishChristianity (Protestantism and Roman Catholicism)1,500,000EuropeNetherlands, Denmark, and GermanyFrisiaFrisian National Party, Groep fan AuwerkThe creation of a new Frisian state.
Tripuri peopleKokborokHinduism1,520,000 (2002)[69]AsiaIndiaTripuraTripuri nationalism, All Tripura Tiger Force, National Liberation Front of TripuraHistorically occupied the Twipra Kingdom. 1949, Tripuris had a population of 85% in Tripura, 2002 they make up 29% and became a minority in their own homeland.[69]
Bodo peopleBodo languageBathouism1,300,000AsiaIndiaBodolandBodo nationalism, National Democratic Front of BodolandNational devolution or further autonomy from the India.
Tuareg peopleTuareg languageIslam1,200,000AfricaMali and NigerAzawadNational Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Tuareg rebellion (2012), Northern Mali conflictNational devolution, further autonomy or total secession from Mali.
MapucheMapudungunChristianity (Roman Catholicism)1,000,000[70]AmericaArgentina and ChileAraucaníaMapuche conflict
Asturian peopleAsturian language, SpanishChristianity (Roman Catholicism)925,000 (2002)[71]EuropeSpainAsturiasAsturian nationalism,See also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain.
SilesiansSilesian, Polish, German, CzechChristianity (Roman Catholicism)900,000EuropePoland, Czech Republic and GermanySilesiaSilesian Autonomy MovementDivided into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia.
LezginsLezgianIslam800,000+EuropeRussia, AzerbaijanLezgistanLezgin NationalismUnification of the Lezgin people in Azerbaijan and Dagestan (Russia).
Fur peopleFur, ArabicIslam800,000[72]AfricaSudanDafurWar in Darfur, SLM/AHistorically occupied the Sultanate of Darfur.
Māori peopleMāori, EnglishChristianity with native750,000OceaniaNew ZealandNew ZealandMāori protest movement
Aboriginal AustraliansAboriginal languagesChristianity (principally Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism) with native680,000OceaniaAustraliaAustraliaMovement is fragmented or focused on specific aboriginal groups
KarakalpaksKarakalpak languageIslam620,000AsiaUzbekistanKarakalpakstanKarakalpak NationalismRegional autonomy in Karakalpakstan
FriuliansFriulian language, ItalianChristianity (Catholicism)530,000[73]EuropeItalyFriuliFriulian FrontRegional autonomy with special statute in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Cornish peopleCornish, Cornish English, EnglishChristianity534,300 (only Cornwall)EuropeUnited KingdomCornwallCornish nationalism, Mebyon Kernow, Cornish Nationalist PartyNational devolution or further autonomy from the United Kingdom.
Hawaiian peopleHawaiian languageChristianity (Catholicism and Protestantism) with native527,000OceaniaUnited StatesHawaiiHawaiian sovereignty movementHistorically occupied the Kingdom of Hawaii.
MoraviansCzech (Moravian), SlovakTraditionally Roman Catholicism presently Irreligion525,000[74][75]EuropeCzech Republic and SlovakiaMoraviaMoraviansHistorically occupied the Moravian Empire
KashubiansKashubianChristianity (Roman Catholicism)~0.5 million (2002–07)[76][77] of which 233,000 as ethnic-national identity (2011)EuropePolandPomeraniaKaszëbskô JednotaKashubians with Slovincians (extinct) formed the West Slavic tribes of Pomeranians.
Ogoni peopleOgoni languageChristianity with native500,000AfricaNigeriaOgonilandMovement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
Crimean TatarsCrimean Tatar, Russian, UkrainianIslam500,000EuropeUkraineCrimeaMejlis of the Crimean Tatar People
Tatars in Republic of Crimea
Deportation of the Crimean Tatars
Previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, after being invaded and annexed by Russia in 2014 the Crimean Tatars are currently seeking autonomy[78]
Sahrawi people[79]Hassaniya Arabic (native), Berber languages (native), Modern Standard Arabic (written only), and Spanish (lingua franca)Islam (Sunni Islam (Maliki), Sufism)500,000[80]AfricaMorocco, Algeria, MauretaniaWestern SaharaWestern Sahara conflict, Polisario Front, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republicpartially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially Moroccan-occupied
YakutsYakut language, Russian languageChristianity, Shamanism, Tengrism480,000–510,000AsiaRussiaYakutiaYakut revolt (1918)Regional autonomy in Sakha Republic, Yakut leaders declared Yakutia's sovereignty in 1991 in an attempt to take advantage of the fall of the Soviet Union, though this was unsuccessful[81]
ChamsCham languageIslam, Hinduism, Buddhism400,000AsiaVietnamSouth Central CoastUnited Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races, Cham rights movement[82] Historically occupied the Champa state. The Cham in Vietnam are only recognized as a minority, and not as an indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being indigenous to the region. Vietnamese continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artifacts left behind.
Corsican peopleCorsican, French, Ligurian, ItalianChristianity (Roman Catholicism322,120EuropeFranceCorsicaCorsica LiberaTerritorial collectivity in France.
NavajoNavajo language, Navajo language, Navajo Sign LanguageNavajo Traditional, Christianity (principally Roman Catholicism)300,460AmericaUnited StatesNavajo NationNavajo WarsRegional autonomy in the Navajo Nation.
TuvansTuvan language, Russian language, Mongolian language, Chinese languageTibetan Buddhism, Tengrism300,000AsiaRussia, Mongolia, ChinaTuvaPeople's Front "Free Tuva", People's Party of Sovereign Tuva[83]Regional autonomy in Tuva.
Sikkimese peopleSikkimese languageHinduism, Buddhism, Christianity290,000AsiaIndiaSikkimSikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee[84]Formerly the Kingdom of Sikkim. The Sikkimese people are split among the Lepcha, Limbu and Bhutias In 1990 Sikkimese Nationalist leaders declared the annexation of Sikkim by India to be illegal[85]
Lakota peopleLakota, EnglishChristianity with native170,000[86]AmericaUnited StatesLakotahSioux Wars, Lakota Freedom MovementNative American reservation politics.
Sami peopleSami languages, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, RussianChristianity, Animism163,400EuropeNorway, Sweden, Finland and RussiaSapmiSámi politicsHave their own Parliaments in Norway, Sweden & Finland but Sami groups seek more territorial autonomy.
InuitInuit languages, DanishChristianity with native135,991AmericaCanada, United States and DenmarkSiberia, Alaska, Northern Canada and GreenlandGreenland Referendum, Inuit Tapiriit KanatamiSemi-autonomous rule in Greenland with autonomy in Denmark.
PamirisPamir languagesIslam135,000[87]AsiaTajikistanBadakhshanPamiri nationalism, Lali Badakhshan party, Tajikistani Civil WarRegional autonomy in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region
AcadiansAcadian French, American English, French, EnglishCatholicism, minority irreligious102,250 (Maine and Atlantic Canada only)North AmericaUnited States and CanadaAcadiaThere have been several attempts at splitting Aroostook County off of Maine,[88] and the short lived Republic of Madawaska in the 1800s[89]
Manx peopleManx language, Manx English, EnglishChristianity89,000 (2002)[90]EuropeUnited KingdomIsle of ManMec VanninIsle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency.
KareliansKarelian, Russian, FinnishChristianity77,000EuropeFinland, RussiaKareliaEast Karelian uprisingDivided into East Karelia and West Karelia.
RusynsRusyn, Ukrainian, Slovak, SerbianChristianity68,000 (official; the actual population may be 1.2 million)EuropeUkraine, Slovakia, Serbia, Poland, Hungary and RomaniaCarpathian RutheniaWorld Congress of Rusyns, Rusyn separatist movementThe Rusyn ethnicity is not recognised by Ukraine and does not appear in the Ukrainian census. Many speakers of the Lemko and Hutsul dialects identify primarily as Lemkos and Hutsuls, rather than Rusyns or Ukrainians. A separate population, the Pannonian Rusyns, are a minority in Serbia and Croatia.
Faroese peopleFaroese language, DanishChristianity66,000EuropeDenmarkFaroe IslandsFaroese independence movementRegional autonomy in Faroe Islands.
SorbsSorbian language, Czech, GermanChristianity (Roman Catholicism)60,000–70,000 (est.)EuropeGermany and Czech RepublicLusatiaDomowinaDivided into Upper Sorbs and Lower Sorbs.
Ainu peopleAinu languages, Japanese people, Russian languageAnimism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity25,000 – 200,000 (est.)AsiaJapan, RussiaHokkaidoAinu MovementSeek greater independence in Japan[91][92][93]
OrcadiansNorn language (extinct), Scottish English, Insular ScotsChristianity21,349EuropeUnited KingdomOrkneyOrkney and Shetland MovementFormerly a part of the Earldom of Orkney (along with Shetland)

Many residents have hoped for greater autonomy from the British Government in the past, and were promised more powers in the event of Scottish independence and now hope for further autonomy from the Scottish Government[94]

Rapa Nui peopleRapa Nui language, Spanish languageChristianity (Catholicism)5,682OceaniaChileEaster IslandRapa Nui independence movement[95][96] The Rapa Nui Parliament is a pro-independence organisation[97]

See also


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