UN “rip-off” Declaration of Indigenous Rights

UN “rip-off” Declaration of Indigenous Rights

Support our journalism. Become a Patron!
July 4, 2006

MNN. July 4, 2006. Who do they think they’re kidding? This is a rip-off of Indigenous people! Nothing less is acceptable to us Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois than full acceptance into the UN as a nation equal to all the others. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of “hot air” to stop us from getting in. We are still under forced “colonial rule”.

Who do we complain to when the UN violates us? We know we are being set up to be undermined even more. The UN is controlled by the multinational corporations. It looks like they’re setting up a “World Indigenous Affairs” to control us, our lands and our resources. Conspicuously missing from this declaration is any acknowledgement of the fact that many of the United Nations members are still occupying territory stolen from Indigenous People through the oppressive colonial processes, which are still going on [and not being stopped by the UN]. Otherwise, they’d get off our land and go home. Why on earth does the UN need to say that Indigenous people have a right to be “citizens” of the states that’s oppressing them and ripping them off? That’s because the UN refuses to admit that they have recognized a whole lot of colonial states that have taken over Indigenous people’s countries.

We still don’t have any say, except maybe in an advisory capacity, with no way to enforce any violations. We can say “shame, shame on you” which doesn’t bother the the thick-skinned insensitive parasites called colonizers. We have to accept submission to a colonial state in order to be heard. Control over us will be so far away that we can’t even see it. They hope no one else will either. They won’t respect our title to Turtle Island. It’s just another layer of bureaucracy for us to plow through so we can have the edifying experience of being snubbed once more. [they’ll have their feet on a clean empty desk and tell us, “That’s not my department. You’ll have to go across the globe to talk to so and so”].

The bottom line is we have to be compliant or we’ll be ignored. What we’re getting here is a watered down version of all our rights that are supposed to be in all the other UN conventions that are already being ignored. We have news for you, we are people too! Are the Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois in fact being set back? We should declare that we do not go along with this counterfeit they call a “Declaration of Indigneous Human Rights”. We want Canada and the U.S. to live up to the original relationship with us which is nation-to-nation. We don’t want to become citizens of their states. It’s a puff of smoke and a hall of mirrors, reflecting the same old colonial game.

Let’s explain some of what the “Plain language” version of the Draft Declaration put out by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission really says.

It deals with self-determination, culture and language, education, health, housing, employment, land and resources, environment and development, intellectual and cultural property, indigenous law and treaties and agreements with governments.

We’re seeing that there will be no nation-to-nation relationship which is the only way that the issues can be resolved. This is the only way there’s a chance they can understand our ways of thinking.

The “plain language” version is intended to help indigenous communities, organisations and the general public understand the Draft Declaration.

It is actually insulting to our intelligence. It seems to assume that none of us are smart enough to understand this baffle gab. For indigenous people who are rooted to the soil, it’s astounding to think that we have any more rights just because they say we have a right to a “country”. This suggests we can be displaced.

The preamble lists some of the reasons, which led the United Nations to develop a declaration on indigenous peoples’ rights. They want recognition of their rights as distinct peoples, including the right to self-determination, and the right to control development of their societies.

Do we need them to give us this “human right”? No! It’s as human as the will to live. Self-determination is part of nature. It’s the reason why the thistle seed grows into a thistle. It’s the reason why a chicken egg hatches a chicken and not a lizard. Do they expect with this declaration that a lamb will grow into a jackass?

Rejection of the view that some peoples are better than others as racist and wrong.

We never thought or accepted that anyone was better than us. Oppression is a state of mind and it was enforced at gunpoint, with swords, cutlasses, ropes, chains, instruments of torture, laws, theft and economic monopolies.

Colonisation – indigenous peoples have been deprived of their human rights and freedoms and this has led to their colonisation and the taking of their land.

We still have title to our land but we’re occupied. Colonization is a hoax enforced at gun point. We don’t need fancy words. They just need to stop stepping on our feet and get off our land.

Respect – Recognition of the urgent need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly their rights to their land and resources.

No guarantee here. By the way, did they remember to mention they’ve taken everything and they don’t think the resources are ours? If they really wanted to respect our resources, they’d give us our places at the table with all the other nations and conglomerations of lost souls.

Indigenous Organisations – indigenous peoples are getting together to end discrimination and oppression.

Now here is a real contradiction. If all people are equal, how could it make on jot of difference what the chosen few who get to speak at the UN dictate? The UN cannot end oppression and discrimination from above. It is their very concept of hierarchy that creates oppression. If they want to end their violations of human rights, they have to start behaving respectfully, give up all they’ve stolen from us and stop dictating to us. Invite us to help them to overcome their illnesses and delusions. It’s like a drug addiction. There’s no point in writing fine declarations of intent. You either kick the drug or you don’t. The first step to overcoming addictions is to acknowledge that you have a problem. We don’t see any acknowledgement here.

Environment – respect for indigenous peoples’ knowledge can contribute to fair and lasting development and better management of the environment.

“Fair and lasting developing”! What do they mean by this? Last time we looked, their concept of development meant destroying the environment as we know it. If they’re serious about respecting Indigenous people, they should set up a plan to restore the environment to the state it was in when they vandalized and stole it. Hey! Has anyone noticed the glaring omission in this document? There is not one word of remorse or apology for colonialism and there isn’t even an announcement that it’s over.

Fundamental Rights

Article 1: Human Rights – Indigenous peoples have the right to all the human rights and freedoms recognized in international law.

Who’s going to enforce this and how? Here’s another conspicuous absence. The colonial states that belong to the UN have proved themselves to be notoriously negligent in the past when it comes to restraining its citizens from violating our rights. Their response has generally been to legalize the violations that were committed. In fact, they are still claiming sovereignty over us on the basis of theft and murder by their citizens.

Article 2: Equality – Indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples. They must be free from discrimination.

Statements like this actually serve to validate and reinforce the old way of looking at things. Instead of acting on the ideals they profess and inviting us to the table as equals, they just announce that we should be treated as equals and leave us shut out in the cold. What’s the big deal? Are they afraid that if they sit beside us to eat an apple, that somehow they wont be fed?

Article 3: Self-determination – Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination.

This is a gross attempt to usurp the power of nature. All people are born as they were conceived. All have a right to be, whether or not anyone cares to pronounce on the matter. No one can give anyone else the right to self-determination. It is an innate instinct that asserts itself even before birth and continues when we take our first breath. The pine seed produces a pine tree. A human produces a human. Do they think that any palaver at the UN is going to change that?

This means they can choose their political status and the way they want to develop.

Here’s a piece of two-face hypocrisy. We Mohawks have chosen our status as nations equal to others. Our confederacy applied for membership in the League of Nations in 1923 and also for membership in the United Nations. But we haven’t even been allowed to present our case. How does this qualify as “free choice of our political status”? As a matter of fact, we are being attacked over this very issue at Six Nations right now.

Article 4: Distinct Characteristics – Indigenous peoples have the right to keep and develop their distinct characteristics and systems of law. How can we do this when the colonists have illegally forced their system of subjugation over us and our land?”

We want our original jurisdiction over our land, ourselves, our resources and so on which we never gave up according to international law.

They also have the right, if they want, to take part in the life of the rest of the country.

Yeah. It’s always been that way. We’ve heard of this before. It’s called “assimilation” or “civilization” depending on which generation is saying it. What about our right to be left alone with our possessions? This has not been respected. To become Canadians! Is this held out as a privilege, to become a sell-out colonist? We constantly rejected this and they still don’t get it. Canadians don’t want to be Americans!

Article 5: Citizenship – Every indigenous person has the right to be a citizen of a country.

Just a minute! That’s what we’re fighting against. We are citizens of our own nations. Yet we are still being forced to become citizens of foreign colonial societies. A “Citizen” is a “freeman of a city”. Why would we want to live in cities when we are rooted in the land of our ancestors?

There is much disagreement over what self-determination means. Indigenous peoples base their claims to self-determination on the fact that they were the first peoples in their territories.

What’s wrong with that? Self-determination means the right of indigenous peoples to choose their political status and to make decision about their own development. Determined by who? No, we base self-determination on our essential belongingness to nature. We have the same right to self-determination as an oak tree to a newt. And we don’t intend to start laying dinasaur eggs

Some governments reject the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination or try to limit its scope. They are fearful of independence movements and the possibility of national disintegration.

Why should colonists continue their oppressions and theft of everything of ours in their sight? Well, the one thing they forget is that if a nation is a nation, they remain a nation, no matter what! A pine forest will not become a flock of geese. (Though at this point this declaration seems about to produce a bucket of vomit).

Indigenous representatives at the UN consider this view to be racist and discriminatory. The UN Charter and the main human rights instruments state self-determination as a right of all peoples.

Aw, shut up!

Article 6: existence – Indigenous peoples have the right to live in freedom, peace and security.

Even if we’re in one of your colonial jails for defending these very freedomsl as so many of us are? Can we reclaim our stolen possessions? Is that possible? Or is that another jail term for us?

They must be free from genocide and other acts of violence.

How will this stop Canada from attacking us for justly reclaiming our land, from listening to our phone conversation and interfering with our emails just for telling it like it is?

Governments shall prevent the taking of their land and resources.

Like Canada helping DeBeers Diamonds and other resource development companies to steal from and destroy Northern communities like Kashechewan. The Crees are being removed from their land and being brutalized for not going along with DeBeers and Canada’s theft from their traditional territory. They have been removed from their communities by coercion.

Writing about this piece of trash called the Draft Declaration of Indigenous Rights is getting boring. Everyone gets the general idea that the United Nations wants to maintain colonialism, does not want to stop the genocide by respecting our constitutional jurisdiction over our land, does not want to respect our title and rights over all our land and resources, will not stop states from forcing their laws and taxation of our labor and goods on us and our land. Our people will continue to be killed, jailed and vilified for standing up for our inherent powers to our sovereignty, lands and resources.

In other words, they will not recognize our nations as equal to any other in the world and will not make the colonists deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis. Yes, they will let us do our songs, chants, dances and wear our “customs” for their entertainment. Our cultural property, Turtle Island, will continue to be occupied and environmentally devastated by the colonizers.

This is a whitewash to help the corporate takeover of the world. It’s a distraction and a red herring. What they’re really doing is depriving more and more people and putting us into subordinate positions. It’s stopping people from noticing what’s really going on. They’ve created a delusion so no one will notice that we are one of the last little problems that need to be “cleaned up” and put in our place.

The bottom line is that real legality is not coercive. It means that everybody has to be on the same page. This is a document meant to work under the coercive laws of the colonizers. If there was a real intention to decolonize and to treat us as equal human beings, it would not take this form. We would be told about the “big” meetings that are happening and would be invited to sit at the table as equal nations of the world.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nations News

We're fighting for our lives

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.

independent uncompromising indigenous
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License