Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 23, 2023

Defending Sacred Places and Sacred Rights at the United Nations

Deskaheh Steve Jacobs

Defending Sacred Places and Sacred Rights at the United Nations

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, July 22, 2023
Breaking news, article in progress

GENEVA -- Deskaheh Steve Jacobs provided the opening prayer but said he will not address the United  Nations until the Haudenosaunee is recognized as a government. Jacob's prayer began the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this week in Geneva, with weeklong global testimony focused on militarization, protecting the sacred, and violations of human rights.

Earlier this week, the City of Geneva installed 30 large double-sided photo panels along Lake Geneva telling the story of Deskaheh's journey and the development of relations between the City of Geneva and Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

Deskaheh – Levi General, is considered the first Indigenous Person to have raised the issue of loss of autonomy and dispossession of First Nations – Indigenous peoples by colonizing states at the international level.

"In 1923 Deskaheh, Chief of the Iroquois League, representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, leaves Canada to go on a mission to Geneva, Switzerland. He hopes to attend the League of Nations (now the United Nations) in order to have it recognize the sovereignty of the Iroquois.

"The constituent members of the State of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, that is to say, the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca and the Tuscarora, now are, and have been for many centuries, organised and self-governing peoples, respectively, within domains of their own, and united in the oldest League of Nations, the League of the Iroquois..." states DOCIP, the Indigenous Peoples Centre for Documentation, Research and Information.

"The League refuses to hear him. The doors are closed to him. A few months before his death, he goes to Rochester, New York. He delivers his last speech. Stressing that the Six Nations Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy is the oldest League of Nations, he exhorts his people to defend their Iroquois rights, just as the white man defends his own rights." 
Deskaheh, Letter in 1923, is at The Red Man's Appeal For Justice.

"100 years later, the Haudenosaunee are still unrecognized as a sovereign nation. The current Deskaheh – Gayogo̱hó:nǫʼ (Cayuga) Bear Clan recited the Ohenton Karihwatehkwen at the opening of the 16th Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, July 17, 2023. As in our traditions, before all meetings, we give thanks for all of Creation and to bring our minds together as one," Indian Time reports.

Deskaheh closed by saying "I will not address the United Nations until the Haudenosaunee are recognized as a government.

The Green Hoax

The struggle to protect sacred places from lithium and other mining was voiced at the United Nations in Geneva this week.

Sacred Sites and Human Rights: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ Articles on Religious Freedoms, Free Prior and Informed Consent, and Rights to Land and Water, was presented by the Native American Rights Fund.

"Sacred lands and waters throughout the world are threatened by traditional extractive industries and newer efforts around ‘green energy.' Whether mining copper and lithium or placing windmills on Indigenous territories, countries and companies alike are violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples by destroying their religious sites, making ceremonies impossible, and contaminating precious waters," NARF said.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other human rights instruments were discussed in the cases of Oak Flat (Apache, USA), Fosen (Sami, Norway), Juukan Gorge (Puutu Kunti, Kurrama and Pinikura, Australia), and others, during a side event. Testimony was given to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

(Above) Paiutes defend Peehee Mu'huh, the massacre place, as Lithium Americas tears into the earth in northern Nevada. Paiute elders and mothers defending the burial place are now being sued by the foreign company, Lithium Americas.

Ruth Ann Buffalo

Genocide and Sexual Violence: Boarding Schools and the Oil Industry

Ruth Anna Buffalo, Mandan and Hidatsa, spoke on the legacy of Indian Boarding Schools in the US, Residential Schools in Canada, and similar programs carried out in New Zealand and Australia, Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition said.

“The genocidal impacts are still felt today," Buffalo said. She expressed the urgency to protect Indigenous languages in the face of the Boarding School legacy, as our languages carry our culture, identity, and lifeways. Ruth Anna Buffalo sits on NABS’s Board of Directors as the 1st Vice President.

Buffalo spoke on the impact of militarization and the environmental violence impacting Indigenous youth and women.

Private corporate security guards are carrying out violence in extractive industries. This environmental violence includes toxic chemicals intentionally affecting reproduction, and sexual violence, exploitation, and trafficking. Private militia are carrying out this environmental violence in the service of corporation activities, in both developed and developing countries.

Buffalo said on her homeland, Fort Berthold in North Dakota, oil development has proliferated since 2010. Private security and militia guards, hired by oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Conoco Philips, are complicit and often are involved in sexual violence, exploitation, trafficking, and the disappearance of Indigenous women and girls.

"The economic power of the corporations they work for means their actions are often carried out with impunity."

Indigenous women and girls are victims of murder and rape at 10 times the national average. Ninety-six percent experience violence by a non-indigenous perpetrator. In our lifetimes, she said, 84 percent of us will have experienced violence.

For the love of fishing

United Nations representatives spoke eloquently on the right of fishing.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, chair of the First Nation Wild Salmon Alliance, described the ancestral right to fish, the struggle against government regulations, and how the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ensures rights in his territory in BC, Canada. Chamberlin spoke on how fishing is interwoven with food sustainability and climate change.

FAO Indigenous, the food and agriculture organization, told the United Nations, "Fisheries is a fundamental activity for millions of Indigenous Peoples across the seven socio-cultural regions."

"Indigenous Peoples' food systems are game changers for sustainability and resilience," Yon Fernandez de Larrinoa told the UN.

FAO said earlier, "Instead of looking for new solutions, you should be looking at Indigenous Peoples and their game-changing solutions, the ancestral knowledge and the things that have made us resilient. Work with us."

During the special session on fishing and rights, the Expert Mechanism chair stated that Indigenous Peoples have the right to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities and practices.

Wet'suwet'en: Mass arrests and lethal force

The violence of militarized police during the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in North Dakota, and the mass arrests and lethal force by the RCMP, where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is destroying Wet'su'weten lands in Canada, were presented in the draft document on the impact of militarization.

"In Canada, an injunction requested by a pipeline corporation resulted in the dismantling of a protest camp of the Wet’suwet’en in January 2019 in north-west British Columbia and led to mass arrests. It was alleged that the police in Canada had prepared to use excessive and even lethal force. It has been further reported that the State refused to release internal records relating to the Wet’suwet’en protests under an exemption typically related to gathering information on terrorism."

Censored News Part I: U.N. Hears of Devastation for Indigenous Peoples, and Stories of Hope

Censored News Part II: Impact of Militarization on Indigenous Peoples: Murder with Impunity from Peru to the Tohono O'odham Nation

Deskaheh's complaint to the League of Nations

Related: In the news

The same Ajo, Arizona, Border Patrol agents who were protested for their violent murder of Raymond Mattia, at his home on the Tohono O'odham Nation, are now caging migrants outside in extreme heat.

The Intercept reports, "On Thursday afternoon, The Intercept observed roughly 50 migrants confined in a chain-link pen at the Ajo Border Patrol station, a highly remote outpost two hours west of Tucson. From a ridge overlooking the Border Patrol’s facility, the migrants could be seen gathered under a carport-like structure, crowding themselves into a single, narrow strip of shade to escape the desert sun. The only furniture available was a short stack of metal bleachers baking in the extreme heat."

Read the article at The Intercept

"Our Trust is Broken"

Copyright Censored News, may not be used without written permission.

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