Monday, October 22, 2007

Indigenous Rights Declaration: backstory

Kristine's introduction of Sacagawea -- who joins Michelle's choice, Nancy Ward, as an IntLawGrrls transnational foremother of Native American heritage -- prompts another look at contemporary norms on native peoples.
As posted here, the U.N. General Assembly voted last month to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (At right, a New York rally before the September 2007 vote; the speaker is Beverly Jacobs, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada.)
For the backstory on the "more than 20 years of work" that preceded the vote -- and on why Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States voted nay, compared with 143 aye votes and 11 abstentions -- check out this ASIL Insight by Stefania Errico. After detailing this history, which includes insertion of language designed to privilege internal rather than external self-determination, Errico concludes: "The question to be addressed now is how to implement the provisions incorporated in the Declaration." That question, she writes, is already on the agenda of the United Nations' Human Rights Council.
((c) photo courtesy of Amnesty International Canada.)

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