Cultural Survival is an example of a nongovernmental organization working solely for the promotion of indigenous peoples' rights. Evoking the term indigenous peoples in conflicts over land and resources, like in the Kerala case, can thus be an effective way of `transforming formerly “domestic” disputes
into international claims for recognition and rights’ (Hodgson 2002:1040). Spokespersons for the adivasi protesters also support the occupation of the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary by calling to mind international legal instruments concerning indigenous peoples' rights, quoting paragraphs from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (still a draft) and the ILO Convention No. 169 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples (adopted in 1989).4 An increasing number of organizations in India have started to tap into the global indigenous discourse, referring to themselves as "indigenous peoples", demanding rights on the basis of this internationally recognized status. They also participate in meetings and networks of indigenous peoples on national, regional and international levels. The Indian participation in the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva has, for example, increased substantially during the last ten years (see Karlsson, in this volume). That the community-based organizations led by Janu nevertheless stick to the Indian term adivasi is perhaps equally understandable as it is well grounded and resonates better locally and in India as a whole, except in what is known as Northeast India. The term adivasi connotes political awareness and the assertion of rights. It is a Sanskrit derivation that interestingly means "original inhabitants". The term was coined in the 1930s as part of the struggle against the intrusion by the colonial government and outside settlers and moneylenders (see Hardiman 1987, Bates 1995). `Being adivasi’, as Ajay Skaria puts it, `is about shared experiences of the loss of the forests, the alienation of land, repeated displacements since independence in the name of ”development projects”, and much more’ (1999:281). CorpWatchIndia also adds a parenthesis in its campaign notice that the indigenous peoples in India are popularly known as adivasis. Spokespersons as well as advocacy organizations usually make such a translation, presenting adivasi as the common label for India's indigenous peoples, while addressing an international audience.5 That adivasi is a politically loaded term in India is clear from the Hindu nationalist organizations' attempt to get it replaced by the more ”neutral” term "vanavasi", meaning forest dwellers. To these organizations, and the hindutva rhetoric in general, it is rather the Hindus that are the original inhabitants of India (see Baviskar, in this volume). The emphasis on adivasis as the common designation does make sense in most parts of India, but has its definite problems in the Northeastern region where the term has a more limited reference and is mainly used for specific communities from central India like the Santal, Oraon, Munda
and Kheria. Those who claim indigenous status in Northeast prefer the English term "indigenous peoples" or simply the older one "tribal peoples".