Wednesday, January 16, 2008

US Apartheid of Indigenous Peoples documented in UN report

Environmental racism, treaty rights and border rights of Indigenous Peoples stated in new report to the United Nations on Apartheid in the US

By Brenda Norrell
Human rights editor
UN OBSERVER & International Report
Photo by Brenda Norrell

SAN FRANCISCO -- The systematic racism, forced assimilation and apartheid of Indigenous Peoples in the United States has been documented in the “Consolidated Indigenous Shadow Report,” to be presented by the International Indian Treaty Council to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Dedicated to Floyd Red Crow Westerman, who passed to the Spirit World on December 13, 2007, the report is compiled from the testimony of individuals and groups of Indigenous Peoples and includes data from a wide range of sources.
The data reveals “a system of Apartheid and forced assimilation,” where Indigenous Peoples are “warehoused in poverty and neglect” in the United States. The racism permeates Indian life, including life at its foundation, at American Indian sacred places.
Indian treaty rights, the abrogation of treaties and discrimination toward non-federally recognized Indian Nations are detailed. Statistics are included for unemployment, violence against women and sexual abuse in residential schools. The destruction of sacred places, environmental racism and border injustices are revealed. Further, the high rate of incarceration and disproportionate long prison sentences for American Indians are exposed in the 87-page report.
The exportation of banned pesticides by corporations in the United States to Sonora, Mexico, where Yaqui are suffering from death and toxic illnesses, and other Indigenous Peoples' territories, is also documented.
Alberto Saldamando, IITC general counsel, and board member Lenny Foster, Navajo, who reported on the freedom of religion for Indigenous prisoners in the US, will present the report to the UN Committee in Geneva in February. Western Shoshone and other organizations and Nations will join Saldamando and Foster.
"It is to inform the CERD Committee on United States compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination," Saldamando said.
The report exposing US Apartheid of Indigenous Peoples will be presented to the UN Committee on Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 3 p.m. and again on Friday the 22nd at 10:00 a.m.
The data includes the overwhelming disparities in income, life expectancy, poverty and unemployment. The disproportionate number of Indians in prisons is revealed with statistics from Montana.
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