Wednesday, September 13, 2017

10th Anniversary of the UNDRIP

Statement by the Chair of the UNPFII on the 10th Anniversary of the UNDRIP

September 13, 2017

United Nations Headquarters, New York –

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly in 2007.

No words can describe the feeling of joy, ten years ago, when the Declaration after thirty long years of struggle in its drafting was finally adopted. With the Declaration, Indigenous Peoples now got an international standard that specifically articulated their individual and collective rights as well as their rights to identity, language, health, education and other issues. Over the following years, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples began to have international and national impact across the world. Some countries now recognise indigenous peoples in their constitutions; others have legislation and policies in place to address historical injustices and promote the rights, identity and worldviews of indigenous peoples. National and regional courts are invoking the Declaration to protect indigenous peoples’ rights. These are good news that we need to learn from and bring forward.

Continued here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

16th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 24 April - 5 May, 2017

The 16th Session of the UNPFII has opened in the United Nations in New York. The theme of the session is the
"Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to
implement the Declaration.

Additional information is on the UNPFII web page and at Cultural Survival.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dirtsong speaks about Aboriginal Australia with individual and collective truths

Vancouver Sun:

More from Stuart Derdeyn
Published on: January 28, 2017 | Last Updated: January 28, 2017 7:12 AM PST


(part of PuSh Festival)

Feb. 4, 8 p.m. | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Tickets and info: $25-$45, at

In September 2016, DNA testing results reported from a University of Copenhagen study lead by evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev proved Aboriginal Australians are the oldest continuous civilization on Earth.

Tests of modern populations in Australia and Papua New Guinea revealed an unbroken civilization over 50,000 years old. These findings corroborated oral histories recounting ancestors leaving Africa and migrating some 75,000 years ago, around 25,000 years earlier than those who would settle in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Sometimes it pays to ask. You might learn something.

“The truth is that in everyday life in modern Australia, you don’t hear much of anything about Aboriginals, or indigenous culture, in mainstream news media,” said Fred Leone of Black Arm Band, which is presenting the show.

“You mainly hear the negatives in terms of culture. So we came together to play a part in the need for there to be a dialogue moving forward about our cultures.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Why Australia will not recognize Indigenous customary Law

From The Conversation

While the Australian Law Reform Commissions’s 1986 report on the use of customary law for Aboriginal people was a great initiative, it was, in hindsight, a notion well before its time. Although 30 years have elapsed since the report was published, its recommendations have, by and large, been ignored.

Few in Australia understand the context and true meaning of customary law. Denials of its validity are often based on ignorance or on specific examples devoid of context; the severity of “spearing” for example, as being contrary to human rights norms.

This is akin to rejecting the common law based solely on, say, the use of lethal injections to execute prisoners in the United States.

Continued here

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Review: The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Book review by Genevieve Valentine of

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, by Andres Resendez

"In 1839, Captain John Sutter arrived in California and began acquiring Native American slaves from several nations to work the land he purchased. He eventually owned several hundred "Indian slaves," whom he treated notoriously badly even by the standards of fellow slave-owners. The circumstances that let Sutter keep these slaves in an ostensibly free territory are part of the complex political and social forces that Andrés Reséndez sets out to unpack in The Other Slavery. But if the book makes anything clear, it's that the single organizing force was simple: greed, and an absence of empathy that meant a slow genocide for the victims."

Continued here:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy intervenes in Native Hawaiian Election

Justice Kennedy has intervened in a Native Hawaiian election concerning Native Hawaiian governmental relations. The case contesting the elections had been ruled against by the District Court and the Court of Appeals, saying it was a private group matter. Justice Kennedy has decreed that the votes can not be counted nor the results released at this time. The case is Akina v Hawaii, No. 15A551 

The New York Times article is here

Monday, September 07, 2015

Toward Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

A Canadian perspective on the UN DRIP.

Toward Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Declaration outlines best practices that nation-states ought to implement, enshrines the right of Indigenous peoples to be different, and affirms minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous people world-wide.
By Jonathan Lambert
Published September 02, 2015
"The 13th of September 2007," declared Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, "will be remembered as a day when the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights." 1
Continued at the link above.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Economics of Exploitation: Indigenous Peoples and the Impact of Resource Extraction

From CounterPunch by Mark Kernan:

In 1937 George Orwell said that coal mining was the ‘metabolism’ of western civilisation. What he meant by this striking metaphor was that coal was the catalyst for an earlier industrial revolution, just as enzymes act as the life-sustaining catalyst within the cells of living organisms to maintain life. If Orwell were alive today however he would have good cause to reformulate his perceptive observation. For modern mining-the extraction of oil, gas and rich minerals, including, again, coal-is now the alchemic catalyst driving the metabolism of 21stcentury economic globalisation. Unfortunately however the consequences and effects of modern mining take on a very grim symbolism in relation to the chemical metaphor referenced above. For rather than sustaining life on the planet, instead, much of 21st century resource extraction now acts as the catalyst in obliterating unique and diverse life systems- in particular, traditional peoples and societies- by harmful extractive processes and practices, and the cumulative social, environmental and cultural impact of those processes.
Continued here:

Friday, August 07, 2015

2015 International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August

The 2015 International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is on the 9th of August. The UN will have programs to celebrate the day on the 10th at UN headquarters in New York. Details are here on the web page of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

This year's theme is "Health and Well-being".

The observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at UN Headquarters will take place on Monday, 10 August 2015, in the ECOSOC Chamber, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event will be webcast live on

Friday, June 26, 2015

If Truth be Told, the Indian Child Welfare Act and child removal today

From The Hill:

If Truth be Told

"For more than a century, the governments of Canada and the United States pursued a policy of forcible removal of indigenous children from their homes and communities.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada recently released a report on these removal practices, recognizing them to be part of a policy of “cultural genocide.”

On June 14 the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its own official findings on the widespread removal of Wabanaki children in that state.  This is not a story unique to Maine or Canada, nor is it a story of the past. These removals occurred throughout the United States and continue today.  According to the Maine Wabanaki TRC, indigenous children are five times more likely than non-indigenous children to be removed from their homes.  Nationally, there are similar disparities in foster care and adoption rates, leading one United Nations human rights body in 2014 to express “concern over the continued . . . removal of indigenous children through the U.S. child welfare system.”