May 25, 2007
Feeding the spirits
Activism at the United Nations
The late Muskogee-Creek elder Phillip Deere declared at the historic 1977 address to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, that ”We, the Indigenous Peoples, are the evidence of the Western Hemisphere. No matter how small a tribal people may be, each of them has the right to be who they are.” This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, which gave birth to a consciousness on, an international level, the conditions of indigenous peoples. The event served as an awakening to Native people all over the world, demonstrating that paradigm-shifting, through dignity and organization, is possible.
The Geneva conference, John Mohawk noted, ”sought to create Principles of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere that … might lead to a Declaration of such rights for indigenous peoples around the world.” That day is upon us, with the conclusion of the Sixth Session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. For 12 days, the world’s indigenous representatives and supporters gathered to, among other things, advocate for the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Although adoption has been delayed, the declaration itself represents the tireless work of scores of indigenous people moving as one body….read more at: