(Update!) Historic Vote: U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13th

(Highlighting this essay again for a wider audience – Today is vote day in the general assembly. Here are some of the few countries who sadly may oppose adopting this declaration: Canada, US, Australia. – promoted by exmearden)

(Front Paged, September 13, 2007, 12 AM PDT)

The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be voted on September 13th.

Here’s a petition for it, please sign it.

“We reaffirm our commitment to continue making progress in the advancement of the human rights of the world’s indigenous peoples at the local, national, regional and international levels, including through consultation and collaboration with them, and to present for adoption a final draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples as soon as possible.”

If the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples fails in light of all present circumstances, it will be an out-and-out de-affirmation
of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in my opinion of these general principles of human dignity.

Crossposted at Progressive Historians



Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal in dignity and rights to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin, racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,

Reaffirming also that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,

(Information regarding the current draft is given in the first link)

Indigenous People have been labeled “savages” and considered to be satanic, all which boils down to dehumanization; consequently, excuses for land encroachment and land theft. The Declaration would help change that. The most basic question of all seems to finally be this.

Are Indigenous People whose ancestors were the victims of genocide and who still suffer from its effects human beings, or are they not human beings?  Simply put, that is to me what will be “voted on.” How sad that in this day and age this still needs such a “vote.” If they vote yes, they’re human beings; if they vote no, they’re less than human. To be clear, “they” who in the U.S. alone?

Alphabetical List of Federally Recognized Native American Tribes

This page not only lists all the federally recognized tribes of Native Americans, but also has links from those tribes for their official websites, stories and legends, books, photographs and artwork. This is a work very much in progress and will take a long while to complete [unless you all help with this resource].

Included today, which should be seriously considered and remembered, are all of the American Indians who are not living today, because of the Forced Sterilizations of Indigenous Women (Updated).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

sterilizations in the 70’s

The following is a copy of an article by Joan Burnes which appeared in the Lakota Times last August 24th (1994).

– snip –

Emery A. Johnson, then-director of the IHS, told a congressional committee in 1975 that IHS “considered non-therapeutic sterilization a legitimate method of family planning… We are not aware of any instance in which such services
have been abused.”

This is a matter of heart and conscience to me. If it fails, it will be at minimum a travesty and another excuse for “business as usual” with Indigenous People and their respective sovereignty. Well this time – may Manifest Destiny lose.

Manifest Destiny loses today; now we can help it continue to unravel!


Thanks to melvin in the comments for catching the fact that it PASSED!

Jubilation as UN approves indigenous peoples declaration

Indigenous peoples around the world are today celebrating the UN General Assembly’s approval of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration was approved by an overwhelming majority in an historic vote in New York today.

The vote is the climax of 22 years of intensive debate and negotiation. Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States voted against the declaration, whilst 143 nations voted in favour and eleven abstained.
13 September 2007


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  1. that such things have to be ‘legislated’….

  2. One of the critical parts of this has been the decades-long wrangling over whether the idea of self-determination should be included – hot button issue for most countries.

    Excerpt from the UN FAQ on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

    The Declaration confirms the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and recognizes subsistence rights and rights to lands, territories and resources.

    This gives formal international grounding and a foundation for preserving the individual human rights and resource rights for the lands of indigineous people world-wide. These are the areas in which indigenous peoples are most persistently exploited.

    It doesn’t actually legislate anything – but, and most importantly, it provides the standard for determining the right course of action, and as the FAQ states, such UN declarations provide “development of international legal norms and reflect the commitment of states to move in certain directions.”

    • melvin on September 10, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    rabbit — I’m working on a diary that I may never finish about the recent whale incident.

    Consider these real headlines:

    Tribal Hunters Kill Migrating Whale

    Whale shot, harpooned in rogue tribal hunt

    Makah harpoon whale

    and many more. The notion is firmly lodged in the public mind with a couple days. Never mind the statement from the Makah Tribal Council, which reads in part

    Their action was a blatant violation of our law and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    The individuals who took part in this act were arrested by Makah enforcement officers and booked in our detention facility. They were released only after meeting the bail requirements set by the court. They will stand trial in our court at a future date.

    Yes, the individuals were Makah. And they were breaking Makah law. There is something about this that makes me think of a headline we didn’t see about Michael Vicks:

    Negro Torures Dogs

    We know that 33% of the public still believes that Saddam bombed New York City. And we know why. The message was successfully drummed in and it is much harder to get it out.

    Isn’t this the same? In fact, some of these stories sit on the internet uncorrectedand undated forever, under the logos of respectable news agencies, not fringe groups where one might expect such things.

    Those savage, criminal Makah!

    • melvin on September 10, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    not be frontpaged. It has enough recommends that it will sit here at the top of the list for a long time, while the fp scrolls away.

    • GreyHawk on September 13, 2007 at 11:30 am

    There are so many violations of rights throughout history, people fail to realize that history is still being made — what we choose to do, and to not do, all fold together into the pages of history written by our passage and read by our children and theirs.

    History is ever-changing, growing and hopefully evolving along with our species; ideally, we’ll be able to see where we’ve stumbled, fallen and collectively picked ourselves up again.  And we’ll hopefully keep advancing and growing in both mind and body, establishing or in some cases re-capturing the wisdom needed to fully understand our lives, our environment and our world and the ties that bind us all together as one.

    • DWG on September 13, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Who would have thought that protecting the rights of indigenous peoples would be such an issue in the “enlightened” 21st century.  Thanks for calling attention to the petition and resolution.  Here is the tally when I signed it:

    24685 people and organizations have added their names so far.

    • lezlie on September 13, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    hope it helps.

    I’m so sorry this is necessary.

    Good luck!

    • melvin on September 13, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    143 in favor

    11 abstentions

    4 opposed: US, Australia, Canada, NZ.

    Jubilation as UN approves indigenous peoples declaration

    Botswana Bushman Jumanda Gakelebone of First People of the Kalahari said today, “We would like to say that we are really very happy and thrilled to hear about the adoption of the declaration. It recognises that governments can no longer treat us as second-class citizens, and it gives protection to tribal peoples so that they will not be thrown off their lands like we were.”

    Kiplangat Cheruiyot of Kenya’s Ogiek tribe said today, “With the adoption of the declaration, the lives of indigenous peoples will be improved on an equal footing with the rest of world citizens.”

    Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, “The declaration on indigenous peoples, with its recognition of collective rights, will raise international standards in the same way as the universal declaration on human rights did nearly 60 years ago. It sets a benchmark by which the treatment of tribal and indigenous peoples can be judged, and we hope it will usher in an era in which abuse of their rights is no longer tolerated.”

  3. Wow.

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