Opinion: Indigenous groups whose struggles rival Standing Rock

The Standing Rock protests have become a social media phenomenon (Getty)
The Standing Rock protests have become a social media phenomenon (Getty)

The Sioux tribe in Dakota protesting over a major pipeline being built through their land has made international headlines and prompted dozens of celebrities to get in behind their cause.

A social media campaign to support the protests at Standing Rock has proven incredibly popular underlining the burgeoning rise of hashtag activism.

People who'd never bothered worrying about the plight of an indigenous group before are suddenly up in arms, standing with Standing Rock, at least on Facebook or Twitter.

Showing concern for the Sioux tribe has become a rather cool thing to do.

But there are plenty of other indigenous groups being treated just as badly as the Standing Rock tribe and in some cases, much, much worse.

Here are five other indigenous groups still getting a raw deal in 2016. (All images Getty)

Life is still pretty dire for most Māori living in Aotearoa.

Tangata whenua are more likely to suffer from poverty, poor health and low life expectancy than other groups.

Opinion: Indigenous groups whose struggles rival Standing Rock

Much like Standing Rock, there has been a raft of land protests involving Māori over the years such as Bastion Point and Moutoa Gardens.

The plight of Māori in New Zealand is nothing short of a national disgrace some 166 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Tibetans were once the poster-people of the indigenous rights cause, with "Free Tibet" a popular catch-cry throughout the 1990s as liberals and students took to the fight with gusto.

Musical heavyweights the Beastie Boys even staged a series of Free Tibet-themed concerts around the world to garner support and raise awareness.

Opinion: Indigenous groups whose struggles rival Standing Rock

The sad fact is that Tibet is still occupied by China, Tibetans have no freedoms, and their very culture is fast heading towards extinction.

Despite being at the forefront of the fight against the Islamic State (IS), the Kurdish people are still stateless, with more than 30 million of them existing in parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

The Kurds want to form their own country of Kurdistan, but have faced a brutal war of independence with Turkey over the past three decades.

Syrian Kurdish refugees in Domiz 1 refugee camp close to Duhok, the Kurdish Region of Iraq. 9 March 2016 (Photo by Noe Falk Nielsen/NurPhoto)

The Kurdish people are indigenous to regions in eastern Turkey, but they have no rights in the country and are treated as second-class citizens or worse.

Turkey even tried to end the Kurdish problem during WWI by performing mass executions and death marches on its population.

There are an estimated 1.3 million Rohingyas living in Myanmar, and they suffered greatly under the old military government for being a minority and having Islamic beliefs.

It's believed the Rohingya have been ethnically cleansed for decades.

TEKNAF, BANGLADESH - NOVEMBER 27: A border guard stands guard on the border Bangladeshi border with Myanmar as the Rohingya Muslims flee to take shelter at Leda unregistered Rohingya camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh on November 27, 2016.  (Photo by Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Often described as aliens living on their own indigenous land, Rohingya are still denied constitutional rights and hundreds of thousands live permanently in internment camps.

In 2015 the Rohingya attempted a mass migration from Myanmar across the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh in rickety boats and thousands drowned.

The genocide of a group of indigenous people is happening right now on our doorstep, in the western part of Papua New Guinea, known as West Papua.

The ruling Indonesians have closed off the area to foreigners as they look to brutally supress local tribes.

Communities have been massacred and children moved to Islamic schools for re-education.

Opinion: Indigenous groups whose struggles rival Standing Rock

When West Papuan independence leader Herman Wainggai escaped to Australia, the Indonesian government recalled its Australian ambassador.

Sadly the UN doesn't recognise West Papua and its people are paying the price.

It's estimated half a million West Papuans have been killed by Indonesia's military since the 1960s.