The world's almost 400 million Indigenous people have low standards of health. This poor health is associated with poverty, malnutrition, overcrowding, poor hygiene, environmental contamination, and prevalent infections. Inadequate clinical care and health promotion, and poor disease prevention services aggravate this situation. Some Indigenous groups, as they move from traditional to transitional and modern lifestyles, are rapidly acquiring lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, and physical, social, and mental disorders linked to misuse of alcohol and of other drugs. Correction of these inequities needs increased awareness, political commitment, and recognition rather than governmental denial and neglect of these serious and complex problems. Indigenous people should be encouraged, trained, and enabled to become increasingly involved in overcoming these challenges.