Native Village
Youth and Education news
September 2010 Volume 1

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People celebrated
Condensed by Native Village

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1994. It takes place every August 9.  Last month, International Day was recognized across the world.  Among the events:

Malaysia celebrated with dancing, music and basket weaving.
In New Delhi, tribal people dressed in traditional attire, spoke out about their struggles, and asked for their rights as equal citizens.
Indigenous protesters in Costa Rica staged a sit-in at the Legislative Assembly. They want lawmakers to approve a labor agreement about the autonomy of native people. Costa Rica signed this agreement in 1992 but never ratified it.
The California Tribal Business Alliance is standing up to non-Native casino developers. The developers are inviting  tribes to claim lands outside their traditional homelands for casinos.

In 2007, the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly. While it passed by a vote of 143-4, the four "nos" came from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. These countries have large indigenous populations whose territories cover vast portions of land.

Australia and New Zealand have since adopted the Declaration. Canada and the U.S. are reviewing their positions.

Susan E. Rice, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, said America has a “deep and abiding commitment to improving the lives of First Americans. The United States also recognizes the more than 370 million indigenous people who live in some 90 countries around the world. We honor their immeasurable contributions to society and call upon all nations to work together with indigenous communities to meet our common challenges.”

The Declaration's goals promote fairness and inclusion of indigenous peoples in developing laws, policies, resources and programs that affect their lives, lands and territories; the protection of their cultural integrity and collective rights;  and monitoring and accountability at all levels of government in followng these rules.

With the adoption of the Declaration, the world’s indigenous peoples reached a historic achievement toward realizing those goals.

Advances in the recognition of  indigenous rights since the adoption of the Declaration


In October 2007: Belize's Chief Justice referred to the Declaration when he ordered the government to return land taken from the Mayan people.


November 2007: the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of the Saramaka people in Suriname to settle a logging case. The court referred to Article 32 of the Declaration. ”
February 2008: Australia formally apologized to aboriginals and their families for the “Stolen Generations” -- the forced removal of indigenous children from their tribes. It has had devastating effects on generations of indigenous Australians.
In April 2008: Canada's House of Commons endorsed the Declaration and called on Parliament and government to fully implement its standards .
June 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada apologized to 80,000 former Native students, their families and their communities for forcing the children from homes to attend Indian residential schools.
June 2008, Japan formally recognized the Ainu people as indigenous people of Northern Japan. The Japanese Parliament stated that the Ainu have a distinct language, religion and culture from the rest of the Japanese nation.
January 2009: In Bolivia, 60% of the population voted to give Bolivia’s indigenous majority more power. Among the changes, Native people will have seats in Congress and in the Constitutional Courts. Indigenous peoples also have more autonomy to practice community justice according to their own customs.
February 2009: The Honduran government says that since 1995, they have provided financial support for several indigenous programs, including $15,000,000 for indigenous peoples’ education.

Since its adoption, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been translated into the six official languages of the United Nation and dozens of  indigenous languages.


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