The history of NCIV goes back to 1969 when an article was published by Norman Lewis in the Sunday Times about genocide against indigenous peoples in Brazil. This shocked many people all over the world and gave rise to several organizations in Europe in support of indigenous peoples; Survival International in the UK, International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs in Denmark, Society for Threatened Peoples in Germany, and Working Group Indians South America, WIZA (Werkgroep Indianen Zuid- America), in The Netherlands, the predecessor of NCIV. The official founding of WIZA took place on 26 March 1971 in the city of Utrecht.
In the early eighties of the previous century, WIZA and another support group for indigenous peoples, Stichting Werkgroep Indianen, join forces and create Working Group on Indigenous Peoples (WIP), also a predecessor of NCIV. In 1993 the foundation changed its name into Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV).