Tuesday, August 24, 2010

US tries flim-flam approach on endorsement of Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

US Doctrines of 'Discovery' and 'Conquest' can not supersede UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Photo: Native children at gathering to halt uranium mining on Havasupai land in the Grand Canyon by Brenda Norrell

Statement by Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga) Regarding US House Resolution 1551 August 1, 2010

On July 22, 2010, US House of Representatives Resolution 1551.1H was submitted to Congress and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should “promote respect for and full implementation of the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples consistent with US law.” As positive as this wording of the resolution may seem, the phrase “consistent with US law” is highly problematic because US law with regard to American Indian nations and peoples is premised on unacceptable doctrines such as “discovery,” “conquest,” and “plenary power,” and on a presumption of United States supremacy over Indigenous peoples.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an international human rights instrument that recognizes the individual, collective, and group rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right of self-determination, and the right of Indigenous Peoples to give or withhold their free, prior, and informed consent when it comes to the exploitation of their Indigenous lands, territories, and resources. It is incumbent upon the United States government to fully endorse and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a manner consistent with international standards of human rights, and in keeping with the recognition of the individual, group, and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga) serves as North American Regional Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and she is the Vice Chairperson of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development

1 comment:

jarmstrong said...

Exactly, the Declaration should supplant federal law, not validate it. If tribes were to adopt it by popular referendum, subject to U.S. ratification, it could serve as a basis for true treaty relations. This fiction of plenary colonial power is extremely vulnerable to even the most cursory examination as founded on racism, as a recent paper in the West Virginia Law Review concludes:

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008: www.earthcycles.net/
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