Gabe Galanda: Enforcement of indigenous rights declaration

"Federal encroachment into Indian Country, in violation of inherent sovereignty or Treaty rights, is nothing new. What is new, however, is the United States’ formal support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and its various covenants that encapsulate and protect the rights of United States indigenous people in relation to the Federal Government. On December 16, 2010, with much pomp and circumstance before American tribal leaders, President Obama endorsed the Declaration, explaining to the tribal leaders who had gathered in Washington, D.C.:

“The aspirations it affirms—including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples—are one we must always seek to fulfill…. I want to be clear: What matters far more than words—what matters far more than any resolution or declaration—are actions to match those words.”

Yet in action, various departments, agencies, and officials within the Administration do not match the words contained in the Declaration. To the contrary, federal actions too frequently contradict the promises made by the United States to American Indian indigenous people in the Declaration. As United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples S. James Anaya has noted, it is one thing for governments to “incorporate the norms concerning indigenous peoples; it is quite another thing for the norms to take effect in the actual lives of people.”"

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Gabriel S. Galanda: Domestic Enforcement of UNDRIP (Indian Country Today 1/27)

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