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.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Indigenous People

From: IPS News

Opinion: Don’t Leave Indigenous Peoples Behind in SDGs

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
UNITED NATIONS, May 11 2015 (IPS) - U.N. member states are meeting throughout the year to finalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The goals are supposed to be universal and aspire to “leave no one behind.”
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
But Indigenous Peoples, who are among the poorest and most marginalised people on earth, are all but invisible in the latest draft of the SDGs. As an indigenous woman and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, I am deeply concerned that almost all references to Indigenous Peoples have been deleted, as we have learned from experience that unless we are explicitly included, we are likely to be excluded.
Indigenous Peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion in almost every country they live in. Without specific targets and indicators to measure and report on the realisation of their rights, this inequality is likely to continue in the 15-year implementation of the SDGs.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

UN recognizes copyright of Maori artists in tukutuku hanging in UN headquarters

April 27 2015

Forty-three tukutuku panels (a distinctive art form of the Maori people of New Zealand) woven by artists from around the country hang in the UN headquarters in New York. The United Nations has agreed that the artists retain copyright in the works, which is a departure from its usual practice.
Continued here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

American Society of International Law webinar: Realizing International Indigenous Rights in Domestic Law

Webinar: Realizing International Indigenous Rights in Domestic Law

The panel discussion will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing the the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in domestic law. Panelists will include Walter Echo-Hawk, a Native American attorney and professor with more than 40 years experience representing Native American tribes in litigation involving religious freedom, water rights, treaty rights and reburial/repatriation rights; Brett Kenney, the general counsel of the Coquille Indian Tribe of southern Oregon; and Nicholas Fromherz, a visiting assistant professor at Lewis & Clark Law School with extensive experience in Bolivia. Issues to be addressed by the panelists include: the goals of some Native American tribes to recover ancestral lands and co-manage federal natural resources; the relevance of UNDRIP and other human rights principles to those aspirations and to the possible future development of federal Indian law; and difficulties encountered to date in implementing UNDRIP during recent consultations over infrastructure projects in Bolivia.
This event is sponsored by ASIL's Rights of Indigenous People Interest Group and will be streamed live at for participants not in the Portland area. Please note that the event will take place at 10:00am PST / 1:00 EST. 

Date and Location

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Lewis & Clark Law School
Address 1: 
10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR (and online)

Friday, March 13, 2015

BBC News Australia: Australia's remote indigenous communities fear closure

Australia's remote indigenous communities fear closure

By Marie McInerney

Melbourne, Victoria

Derby Aboriginal elder Lorna Hudson was a child when government authorities in the 1960s moved her people from tiny Sunday Island off the remote north-west coast of Western Australia to the mainland.

For a time most of the Sunday Island "saltwater" people lived on a reserve in the outback town of Derby, recalls Ms Hudson.

Later many moved to the coastal community of One Arm Point, 200km north of the resort town of Broome, where they resumed traditional hunting and fishing.

Their dislocation is an experience shared by many Indigenous Australians who were forced off their land, last century, either because of changes in government policy or lack of employment.

"That's how people lost their culture," says Ms Hudson. "It put us in a different environment, away from our country."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oxford University, Bodelian Libraries' LibGuide to Indigenous Peoples

A very good guide to Indigenous Peoples legal resources research.

Australian Indigenous art to return to Australia

From the BBC:

Historic Indigenous objects return to Australia
A collection of rare objects, including a shield thought to have been picked up by Captain Cook in 1770, are set to return to Australia for the first time.

The exhibition is part of a new deal signed between the National Museum of Australia and the British Museum.

A similar exhibit will be done at the British Museum.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) Statement to UNPFII Expert Group Meeting: Dialogue on an Optional Protocol

From Idle No More:

A Statement from the AILA to the UNPFII Expert Group Meeting: Dialogue on an optional protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 28-29 January 2015, UN Headquarters, Presented by the American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) Oral statement delivered 29 January 2015 is reproduced at the Idle No More website.

The Expert Group on Indigenous Peoples has scheduled a meeting on an Optional Protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be held April 20 - May 11, 2015 at the UN headquarters. The AILA presents it's objections to the optional protocol itself and to the manner in which the discussion has developed.

Items mentioned:

Study on an optional protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples focusing on a voluntary mechanism” (E/C.19/2014/7)2

The Haudenosaunee intervention on ‘Principles of Good Governance,’ delivered by Chief Oren Lyons (Onondaga Nation), under Agenda Item 3 at the Thirteenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) delivered on May 14, 2014.

Fourteenth Session of the UNPFII to take place April 20- May 1, 2015 at UN Headquarters lists as its proposed Agenda Item 5: Half-day discussion on the expert group meeting on the theme “Dialogue on an optional protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People”

proposal to revise EMRIP’s mandate, which emerged from the negotiations of the HLPM/WCIP Outcome Document. Paragraph 28 of the Outcome Document of the HLPM/WCIP

Modalities Resolution of the HLPM/WCIP


expert paper submitted by Professor Mattias Åhrén to the Expert Group Meeting