The United Nations To Investigate The US Government’s Treatment Of Native Americans (Interview) | Addicting Info

This year, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, the UN has decided to open an investigation on the US Government’s former and current treatment of Native Americans. The country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally established tribal areas called Reservations which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates and other social problems.

Aside from social issues, US Native Americans are involved in continuous disputes over sovereignty and land rights with the US and State governments due to enduring violations to their territories and rights.

The human rights inquiry is led by Human Rights and Policy Professor and a Native American, James Anaya. I had a chance to interview Ms. Charmaine White Face who is one of the advisors and the spokesperson for the Sioux Nation Treaty Council. She is also the founder and Coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills.

ED: The UN has been conducting a special investigation into the way the US treats its native populations, including in Alaska and Hawaii. Obama administration formally backed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2010, although the USA is the last country to sign it in 2007. Why do you think it took UN this long to start this investigation? What do Native Americans expect from this investigation?

CWF: I think that it took the UN this long, because the USA does not want an investigation, and they always say that there is nothing wrong here, and they won’t admit to reality of treatment of Native Americans. That’s one thing; the second thing is that the Declaration that the UN passed is not the one Indigenous people have approved, and so there is a big scandal about that too, but nobody will talk about it. There were few, you could call, collaborators approved the UN Declaration, but that was not the original one Indigenous people around the world have approved.

I was in the UN debates about the Declaration between 2002 until 2006, that’s why I know what happened and I wrote an analysis on it and my publisher–which is a non-profit–is trying to get the funds together to publish it. The UN started this process under the Working Group in Indigenous Population (WGIP) program in 1984, because the Indigenous people around the world were complaining that their rights were being violated. The UN sent experts all over the world to talk to Indigenous people about their rights. Finally, after meeting with many Natives around the world and in Geneva, in 1994, the Sub-commission of Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the WGIP came up with a Declaration that was approved by all the Indigenous people of the world. It was a collaborative effort and it was passed in 1994, but the UN did not utilize that one after all the time and effort.

What we wanted as the American Natives is that the Declaration implemented by Natives not by the US Government. Declaration states that each country must implement it individually, but we want our people to implement it, unfortunately that will not happen. Throughout the UN debates, every time we mentioned self-determination –because that is what we want, full and complete self-determination, we are a nation- US representatives would refute and say “we already gave self-determination to our Native Americans through their tribal governments.” What they don’t tell to the rest of the world that USA created those governments. They are not our traditional form of government. The USA has total control of these tribal governments, and that’s how they dictate to tribes how we are supposed to live. If we try to expose corruption or any other dysfunction in our governments, they will block it immediately.

My nation – Sioux Nation- for example has a signed Treaty with USA government in 1868 called Sioux Treaty of 1868. But the Treaty has been repeatedly violated by the USA and the State Governments. Originally, all the Reservations were created as POW camps (Prisoner of War.) The department that was handling the Native issues was the War Department.*

FULL ARTICLE HERE: The United Nations To Investigate The US Government’s Treatment Of Native Americans (Interview) | Addicting Info.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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