Steven Newcomb’s attack on Center for World Indigenous Studies research associate Dina Gilio-Whitaker is reminiscent of Glenn Morris’ attack on Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians president Fawn Sharp. As part of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus that bungled the gathering at Sycuan a year ago, and as pseudo-warriors of the indigenous non-profit industrial complex, belligerence is their primary role. It’s sad, but it’s a career.
NAIPCs boycott of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is more than a protest. It is a culmination of their rejection of diplomacy and democratic process.
When they could not get their way at the UN — even though they themselves were officially sanctioned and appointed by the UN to be representatives within the playpen the UN and its member states established for them at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues — they threw a tantrum, mostly over money and status to continue their charade. But as Rudolph Ryser remarked in his op-ed Who Are the Political Representatives of Indigenous America?, “This is not an idle question, but one that is fundamental to the effectiveness of establishing new international policy and law that will either harm or help indigenous nations reclaim their footing as members of the international community.”
Newcomb and Morris would have us think the self-appointed NAIPC talking heads, unaccountable to any constituency, should be at the center of international negotiations. But as Dr. Ryser observes, “It is time to talk and negotiate realistically those steps necessary to implement the many proposals and principles contained in international agreements and declarations. That process requires political leadership actually accountable to people on the ground since they will have to live with the outcomes.”
Given the ongoing misbehavior by these NGO delinquents, feeding at the foundation-fed trough, we can expect them to be a distracting nuisance in September at UN headquarters in New York, and a disrupting annoyance in the media. Their methods are not constructive, but destructive, and given their lack of accountability to anyone but themselves and their corporate philanthropic funders, they function as an impediment to indigenous political leaders chosen by indigenous nations to represent them. Maybe that’s why oligarchs like Ford and Rockefeller fund them.