Some people think they can self-identify as indigenous or that groups can decide it. This is incorrect, as indigenousness is a biological concept, not a term of art.
Polar bears, for instance, are indigenous to the arctic. A meerkat in the arctic, who identifies as indigenous, is not indigenous, even if other meerkats agree.
Indigenous species have a continuous relationship to the land and each other for thousands of years. Their genes and culture flow from generation to generation without interruption. They embody the stable condition of the land and harmoniously adapt to its changes.
There are fixed patterns of change, however, like the climes. For instance, a creature cannot be simultaneously adapted to the cold and hot clime.
The question of indigenousness is of general import in this globalizing era, which poses a greater threat to nations than colonialism. People can be distinguished as indigenous or confused. Confused people will end up assimilating into a global culture.
Confusion is a hazard that happens when a person ignores or betrays its origins. It ends up lost, without a destination, and surrounded by enemies. It also foments wars by seeking to appropriate what does not belong to it.
Who gets to be an Indian?