Opinion

Lise Balk King: Sacred site sale poses test for United Nations





"On December 16, 2010, President Obama announced the United States’ support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UNDRIP), an aspirational document adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007. And in May of this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Prof. James Anaya, made his first official visits to Indian Country – the first of any UN special rapporteur. His tour included consultations in Arizona, Alaska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota, where he visited the Black Hills and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. His official analysis and recommendations included restoring some land to Native American tribes, and he specifically suggested returning portions of the Black Hills. It was a prescient statement. Efforts are now underway to activate the UN intervention process for the case of Pe’ Sla.

The UNDRIP has not yet been tested here in the United States, and the fight for Pe’ Sla may provide the first such opportunity. While it is true that US property laws make legal the land grab that created this country (aka Manifest Destiny), international human rights regimes recognize the inherent moral and legal obligations to the indigenous inhabitants."

Get the Story:
Lise Balk King: Sale of the Sacred: How Pe’ Sla may test the uncharted waters of the UNDRIP (Last Real Indians 8/22)

Also Today:
UN human rights expert calls on US to consult with indigenous people over land sale (United Nations News Centre 8/22)

Related Stories:
Johnny Flynn: Lakota people look to buy stolen sacred lands (8/22)
Winona LaDuke: Sacred site in Black Hills on the auction block (8/17)
Native Sun News: Rosebud Sioux Tribe leads fight on sacred site (8/16)
Ruth Hopkins: Saving a sacred Black Hills site from auction block (8/15)
Blog: Activists need help to prevent sacred site from being sold (8/15)
Native Sun News: Venerated Lakota site put up on auction block (7/11)