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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Well kept secret: Senate Affairs hearing on UN Indigenous Declaration

Photo Dine' Water Rights
Hush, don't tell: Today's hearing on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
June 9, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The US Senate Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples today, Thursday. Why weren't people informed?
The witness list lacks many of the names of those who were responsible for the creation of the Declaration and who are pressing for implementation.
Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, questioned why there was so little news and information on the hearing and so few key people were invited to testify. "Where's the support numbers and emails? What about all the United Nations Indigenous experts and non-profit organizations? Where is the original Working Group of the Declaration?
"Indigenous people of america where are you?" Rivas asked.
Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have already revealed how the US worked behind the scenes, attempting to prevent adoption of the Declaration by the United Nations. Ultimately, the US was the last country in the world, of those who opposed it, to voice support for it.
The US is obviously going to look for ways to prevent the Declaration from interfering with its seizure of cheap coal and cheap oil and gas from Indian lands. It is certainly going to look for ways to prevent the Declaration from ensuring water rights or halting the Arctic-melting power plants on Indian lands.
The US will surely try to prevent the Declaration from interfering with destructive electric transmission lines and uranium mining on Indian lands. The US will surely work to halt the Declaration from ensuring intellectual property rights. The US will surely try to prevent the Declaration from resulting in the return of aboriginal territories to Native peoples.
The hearing begins at 2:15 pm. Are they planning an all nighter on these weighty issues?
Will this hearing lead to any real changes in US policy? Is the US ready to ensure the rights stated in the Declaration will be guaranteed by Congress and federal courts?
It will take more than lip for the US to become a leader in human rights. Is this hearing, like so many White House and Congressional events, another event for posturing, an event for the US to pretend to take action -- when it is really only a PR event with a photo op.

THURSDAY OVERSIGHT HEARING on Setting the Standard: Domestic Policy Implications of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Thursday, June 9 2011
Dirksen Senate Office Building 628
The hearing will explore the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as an international policy goal to which the United States is signatory, the current ways existing domestic policy achieves the UNDRIP goals, and additional domestic policy considerations to make the United States a world leader in indigenous rights and implementation of the UNDRIP.
Panel I
MR. DONALD “DEL” LAVERDURE, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
Panel II
MR. ROBERT T. COULTER, Executive Director, Indian Law Resource Center, Helena, MT
MR. JAMES ANAYA, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations, Tucson, AZ
MR. LINDSAY G. ROBERTSON, Professor of Law / Faculty Director of the American Indian Law and Policy Center / Judge Haskell A. Holloman Professor / and Sam K. Viersen Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, Oklahoma
MR. RYAN RED CORN, Filmmaker / Member, 1491s, Pawhuska, OK
Panel III
THE HONORABLE FAWN SHARP, President, Quinault Indian Nation, Taholah, WA
MR. FRANK ETTAWAGESHIK, Executive Director, United Tribes of Michigan, Harbor Springs, MI
MR. DUANE YAZZIE, Chairperson, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, Window Rock, AZ
MS. MELANIE KNIGHT, Secretary of State, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Tahlequah, OK

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