Before the colonists invaded the different parts of the world, we didn't call the locals 'indigenous'. They were simply people. But once the invaders showed up, with their greed wrapped around in flags, religion and guns, these people suddenly became 'natives'.

Now, with modernism trying to claim every piece of the world as its own, some of these indigenous communities are finding it difficult to preserve their cultural identity. Not all, mind you - New Zealand's North Island is a great example of how the indigenous and the colonial culture can co-exist.

Photographer Jimmy Nelson spent three years between 2010 and 2013 visiting some of the indigenous cultures found in the remotest corners of our planet. His goal was to capture portraits of the disappearing people groups and to preserve glimpses of their rites, customs, and traditions — photos that he hopes will remain even if these cultures fade away.

Here are the photos of some of the tribes, from this project of his which he calls Before They Pass Away .

Kazakh, Mongolia

Himba, Namibia

Huli, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Asaro, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Goroka, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Chukchi, Russia

Maori, New Zealand

Gauchos, Argentina

Tsaatan, Mongolia

Samburu, Kenya

Karo, Ethiopia

Banna, Ethiopia

Dani, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Maasai, Tanzania

Nenets, Russia

You can check out the entire project here .

h/t BoredPanda .