Opinion

John Kane: Unresolved questions after a week at United Nations






John Kane. Photo from The Two Row Times

John Kane of The Two Row Times attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues last week:
After spending the week in New York City attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and listening to dozens of speakers offering their interventions to the nearly 2,000 delegates and representatives, I have heard a few burning questions asked repeatedly.

The first is: “What do want from the UN or the international community?” Well, that’s a loaded question because there is what we want and what we expect. Plain and simple, many want action. For me, I come back to the warning about being careful what you wish for. I just want some attention paid to our issues and to shame those nations that continue to commit acts of genocide against us – plain and simple.

My expectations are low for anything to have much in the way of fast results. Death may be quick but survival is slow, particularly if we are talking about the survival of an entire people and simply not a generation of them. I give less credit and authority to those who are touted as leaders. I see this stage as an opportunity to produce credible testimony to impact the court of public opinion more than heads of state.

The speakers were from across the globe but the messages were repeated over and over again – loss of land, assimilation, abuse of women, health, poverty and environment. Land claims and environmental protections are the issues that concern the colonial powers most because these directly affect their bottom line as it relates to their economies. So the second question that is quick to be asked by the mainstream media is: “What do you want to see come from land claims settlements? This question is quickly followed up by: “Surely you don’t want all the land back after all this time? Do you?”

Get the Story:
John Kane: We love what you’ve done with the place! (The Two Row Times 5/20)