OAS Pursues Declaration On Indigenous Rights In 2009

The Organization of American States is pursuing the establishment of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, designed to address political, social, economic, and environmental issues confronting Native peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere. The OAS Working Group in charge of the effort has identified regional concerns that an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should reflect, supplementing the recently adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Working Group is currently focused on evaluating the negotiation process and identifying specific measures that should be considered in future negotiations in creating the draft Declaration. The Group has presently identified: 1) articles of the Declaration that have been approved by consensus, 2) articles that are close to agreement between indigenous and state representatives, and 3) articles containing complex issues where consensus has not been reached. The Working Group agreed to start negotiating those articles that are close to agreement between the participants at its next negotiation session scheduled for February 16-20, 2009 preceded by preparatory meetings of the Indigenous Caucus on February 14-15.

In his statement opening the recent draft session, Chief Karl Hill of the Cayuga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) remarked:

Today the world faces climate change and global economic crises. Much of it is caused by greed and the intent to make profit at any cost. As a result, Indigenous Peoples, their lands, territories and resources are being endangered and exploited. Thus, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are at the center of both of these crises. As the most marginalized peoples in the hemisphere, Indigenous Peoples stand to suffer the most from the global economic downturn and have the most to lose from the monumental and unpredictable effects of climate change. …
Indigenous Peoples are people of peace who can contribute significantly toward resolving the many crises facing humanity today. The American Declaration is of critical importance. It will address the regional challenges of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas while fully respecting the standards of the universal United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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David Laughing Horse Robinson - July 6, 2009 1:08 PM

Dear OAS,
I wish to thank you for all the hard work you are doing on behalf of Native Americans. But, I am concerned about your assumption of representation of all Native American Tribes. First, this is the first time I have heard of you and that proves that your understanding of the U.S. Indigenous Peoples lacks the research needed to give proper justice to us as a whole. What about all the Tribes that do not have Federal Recognition? Which makes up over 80 percent of the Indigenous Population. If you think for a second that we have no voice try again. We have a huge voice and we are organized. The reason or reasons that you may not see the unrecognized Indigenous as a viable part of your efforts can only stand as the same old story, your a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. Non-recognized Tribes do not exist in government or dominate culture statistics but we do exist as secret societies among you. Our cultures are stronger and more preserved than federally recognized tribes due to the fact that we have to practice our knowledge and ceremonies secretly. I hope you reconsider the tract your on now and include all of your brothers and sisters in your efforts.
Pogmatog Magot (Creator Knows),Kawaiisu Tribe, Chair David Laughing Horse Robinson

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