Indigenous peoples in Argentina

Argentina is a federal state comprising 23 provinces with a total population of almost 40 million.

Increased Self-identification as Indigenous

The results of the Additional Survey on Indigenous Populations (2004-5), published by the National Institute for Statistics and Census, gave a total of 600,329 people who recognized themselves as descending from or belonging to an indigenous people.

When the survey was designed in 2001, it was based on the existence of 18 different peoples in the country.

However, the latest national census from 2010 include a total of 955,032 persons self-identifying as descending from or belonging to an indigenous people, which at present numbers 35 distinct peoples, offcially recognized peoples.

This shows that there has been a notable increase in awareness amongst indigenous people in terms of their ethnic belonging.


Many Argentinians believe there are no indigenous people in their country, either because the majority have died out or are on the verge of doing so, or because "their descendants" were assimilated into Western civilisation long ago and they now live like any other citizen.

Generalised stereotypes have forced many indigenous people to defensively hide their identity in order to avoid being subjected to racial discrimination. Even so, the use of pejorative terms likening the indians/indigenous to lazy, idle, dirty, ignorant and savage are common in everyday language.

Legislation concerning indigenous peoples

Legally, the indigenous peoples in Argentina have specific constitutional rights at federal level and also in a number of provincial states.

Other universal human rights instruments that are also in force, with constitutional status include:

Argentina voted in favour of the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007. 

Yearly Update

Download the 2016 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Argentina to learn about major developments and events during 2015.