Skip to comments.U.N. Treaty to Give American Land Back to Indians
Posted on 05/04/2010 9:53:27 AM PDT by K-oneTexas
The Obama Administration is weighing whether to sign off on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which could pose a problem to anyone who's purchased property in the United States in the past several centuries.
The declaration was overwhelmingly adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 largely by rich, European countries whose indigenous peoples triumphed over the Romans and by poor, non-European countries whose indigenous populations either never were, have long since vanished or are now relatively small and powerless.
For a wealthy country like the United States with large numbers of politically connected Indian tribes, formal adhesion to the declaration might be just a little more consequential.
The declaration starts off by affirming the rights of indigenous peoples on a number of worthy fronts, such as self-determination, freedom, peace, human rights and native languages. But then there's Article 26, which states that, "Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired."
You don't have to be Christopher Columbus to see how this might raise a few red flags. About 500 years ago -- circa 1491 -- the United States was wholly occupied by indigenous peoples, also known as American Indians. If they now have a legal claim to the lands they have "traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired," this could place a significant wrinkle in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's redevelopment plans for Lower Manhattan.
U.S. adhesion to the Declaration should be uplifting for the fees of international public interest lawyers, whove been increasingly encouraged by proliferating references federal judges have made to transnational norms, customs, and standards in their decisions.
Perhaps recognizing this, the Bush Administration voted against the resolution when it was introduced in 2007, as did three other nations: Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In March, however, Canada broke ranks and announced that it would support the declaration, albeit with what Ottawa termed a qualified endorsement. Australia confirmed its endorsement April 3, while New Zealand announced its support April 20.
Not wanting to be seen as an international killjoy, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice jumped on the bandwagon in an April 20 address to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, saying she was "pleased to announce that the United States has decided to review our position" on the declaration.
"There is no American history without Native American history. There can be no just and decent future for our nation that does not directly tackle the legacy of bitter discrimination and sorrow that the first Americans still live with," said Rice in her remarks. "Let there be no doubt of our commitment. We stand ready to be judged by the results."
The result, of course, could be legal chaos as tribes attempt to renegotiate treaties, exercise control over development, and litigate ancestral lands and trusts claims, potentially far beyond their current reservations. The declaration is non-binding, meaning that it technically has no legal force, but it's already being viewed by advocates as a potent legal weapon.
An April 23 article in Indian Country Today stated, "The declaration has strong provisions for supporting treaty rights and affirms indigenous peoples' collective rights to self-determination and control over their lands and natural resources. These rights will likely conflict with development plans by extractive industries and multinational corporations, but will provide greater protections for indigenous peoples."
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who had already left office before the 2007 vote, said the declaration could throw into disarray the long constitutional history of agreements between the federal government and the tribes.
"This document would threaten to upset all of this, and it doesn't mean indigenous people would be better off for it," said Bolton. "That's the problem with these flowery international agreements. You can't begin to assess the complexity of this and how it would affect the current situation."
If the White House does agree to endorse the resolution -- which, given the President's enthusiasm for international norms over national sovereignty, seems likely -- would Article 26 trigger a rash of federal litigation as Indian tribes sue public and private property-holders for just compensation of their traditional lands? Even the declaration's supporters disagree.
From Jose Aguto, policy adviser for the National Congress on American Indians: "There are many ways to interpret that phrase."
From Armstrong Wiggens, director of the Indian Law Resource Center: "This is a sticking point because some conservative people are saying, 'Are Indians going to take over New York again?' Absolutely not. We're talking about the present situation, not the past."
From Kenneth Deer, secretary of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawke in Canada: "You never know, you never know. The whole reason for the declaration is that people can't get justice."
Say this for the Canadians, they saw this one coming. The Canadian announcement contained the caveat that the government would take steps to endorse the declaration "in a manner fully consistent with Canada's constitution and laws." New Zealand has also qualified its endorsement with respect to their constitutional frameworks, despite pushback from indigenous groups, which have urged those nations to endorse the declaration without conditions.
Far simpler to avoid such foreign entanglements in the first place. "The right thing would be not to sign off on this," said Bolton, "just as the right thing would be not to sign off on a lot of these touchy-feely declarations."
lol Do the indians really want this mess
I got dibs on South Carolina!
The author is missing the big picture and the REAL point of the declaration:
Who will claim to be indigenous to the now State Of Israel?
Which is why this treacherous administration will sign it.
I am in a house purchased directly from an indian in 1917
I’m sorry, didn’t read it all...got this far...
“But then there’s Article 26, which states that, “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.””
Got news for you, UN....We, those alive born in this nation, ARE THE CURRENT INDIGENOUS TRIBE!!!!
Where does this crappola stop!???
Well, it might make a mess of Oklahoma ... LOL ...
But, there is an Indian tribe that may have a good argument that would be somewhat similar to the “secession movement” of some FReepers. I mean, some say that certain states of the United States should secede from the U.S. because of what’s happening, and I take it that they’re serious.
Well, this one Indian tribe, has a good argument for seceding from the U.S. too, because of treaty violations by the U.S. Government. It would seem to me, that if that tribe could secede, then it would provide the framework to make it possible for other FReepers and their states to secede from the U.S. too... as seems to be a popular sentiment among some here...
when’s the last time you met a full blood Indian?
I was born in New mexico and have Indian ancestry, do i get a piece too?
OK. Detroit goes back to the Iroquois.
“United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.....
And the stupidty train rolls on!
Somebody has NOT been reading the real history.
When the English began to move from Plymouth Plantation, even though they had the King's permission to inhabit the land that was accounted for in their Charter, they asked permission to move onto native territory and they also purchased land from the natives.
There were inevitable conflicts but the natives had no concept of land ownership and yet the English treated them as if they did have that concept and paid them for it anyways.
I call dibs on all the liquor the Indians have to refund in order to get the land back.
Oh boy there goes nearly the whole state of Ohio via the treaty of Greenville.
Sure you do! I’m descended from Chief Redbird Smith on my momma’s side.
Give the UN notice they are no longer wanted in NYC or the USA. Cut off ALL funding, no exceptions.
Give them an eviction notice that says you have 12 months to vacate the premises. we can give it back to the Lenni Lenape tribe (who only got $24 to begin with or we can turn it into a waterfront park for the citizens of NYC. All UN personnel should get any and all property they want to keep and take through Customs start packing and get off US Soil. The bulk of your personnel and their families will be gone in 6 weeks.
All diplomatic passports are canceled, So, and by the way, is your immunity from anything is gone effective Noon tomorrow. (Further incentive for some to leave post haste) Law Enforcement Officers can pick you up for parking tickets or whatever and judges can follow the uniform sentencing rules OR deport you immediately as persona non grata.
As a helpful hint, maybe they could set up shop in Haiti or some other nation that could use their benevolent rule and ideas. Maybe the Hague has space with the old League of Nations and the World Court or possibly Russia will offer Siberia.
While we are at it a review of all International treaties should be accomplished and many should end up in the trash heap of history.
Who will claim to be indigenous to the now State Of Israel?
Which is why this treacherous administration will sign it."
What about Mexico...our very own 'Palistine'....they claim they OWN this country...it's a lie, but the likes of Obama & Arnold would probably hand over Calif, az, Texas and anything else they demand.
If we give back Hawaii ... does that cancel ALL births?
Our Hispanics, mostly of mixed Indian and European ancestry, speak a European language--Spanish was never spoken in the New World before 1492, and most Hispanics don't speak the languages their ancestors were using in 1492 (many of which are now extinct).
We have to stop funding this third world joke and move the damn U.N. building to Europe!
The author addresses my primary concerns. If pushed, this mess WILL lead to bloodshed right here in these United States of America.