Steven Newcomb: Indigenous people must take on domination

Steven Newcomb argues that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples still subjects indigenous peoples to a global system of domination:
In the context of the United Nations system, peoples called “indigenous” are defined in terms of the centuries-long establishment of a global system of domination. That is the frame within which to accurately interpret the phrase “good governance” in the theme of this year's UN Permanent Forum.

Peoples termed “indigenous” were originally living free in their territories, when—as one United Nations definition states—“persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived there from other parts of the world.” The definition calls these invaders “new arrivals,” who “overcame” the original nations and peoples “by conquest, settlement or other means,” and “reduced them to a non-dominant or colonial situation.” (emphasis added)

Given the above definition of Indigenous peoples, the concept of “good governance” in this year’s UNPFII special theme is accurately interpreted in keeping with the purported political reduction of originally free nations and peoples down to an indigenous level or status. Through the construction of a states-of-domination reality system, free and independent nations and peoples are now characterized as having been reduced to a sub-order “indigenous” existence.

Although what I have written above accurately expresses a United Nations working definition of “indigenous peoples,” the states of the U.N. consider it impolite for us to call attention to this. While domination is written into the U.N. working definition of “Indigenous,” state governments are made to feel uncomfortable if and when we point this out. Why? Because to point this out is to question what the states consider the unquestionable legitimacy of their domination over our originally free and independent nations and peoples.

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: ‘Good Dominance’ by States Against Nations & Peoples Called ‘Indigenous’ (Indian Country Today 6/10)

Join the Conversation