Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Geography of Self Determination

Tupac Enrique Acosta
3/12/2006




When the United Nations passed General Assembly resolution 1514 in 1960, declaring “All peoples have the right of self determination”, one of the arguments put forward by the member states of the UN was to clothe the concept of territorial integrity of the states themselves as being protected under the same principle.  In fact, section 6 of the same resolution GA1514 states:

“Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

In essence, these two statements from the seminal document that made colonization a crime for the first time in international law established an inherent conflict in the UN processes that now, nearly half a century later, have come to a definitive point in terms of historical resolution.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the present by the blatant efforts by the anglophile bloc of government states (US-Canada-New Zealand-Australia) to block the full recognition of the Right of Self Determination in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The position of these government states attempts to place the right of self-determination of the Indigenous Peoples as existing only within the parameters of domestic policy and legal systems, even though these same systems are products of colonization itself.

The political arguments on both sides of the issue are in conflict, not just because of the doctrines of power that gave birth to the concepts of dominion which define the states and the social relations of their member constituencies, but also because the framework for resolution of the issues within the UN system is incompetent to address the spirituality of the earth based territorial reality of the Indigenous Nations, and the system itself is incoherent according to the geographic sciences of modern times.

What is lacking is a mechanism to define the issues in common terms, outside of the intellectual framework of colonization and dominion. What is missing is a clarification of the concept of territorial integrity, as a dimension of ecological and social sustainability and not a bastard relic from the intellectual Regime of Doctrines spawned by the Divine Right of Kings. 

Emergence of the Fourth Principle 

GA 1514 was followed by GA1541, which specified principles that defined three options for the attainment of “a full measure of self-government”, as the only contemplated political trajectories at the time for relief from colonization.  These are:

(a)            Emergence as a sovereign independent State;
(b)           Free association with an independent state; or
(c)            Integration with an independent state.

It is an incontrovertible fact that the transfer of territorial jurisdiction from Indigenous Nations authorities to dominion concepts of control and allegiance by the states is historically flawed and legally suspect.  There are unquantifiable elements. The case of the Western Shoshone is contemporary evidence that this is not just history but reality in the context of the hemisphere of the Americas, yet there is a larger issue.

The social and geographic realities of the Indigenous Peoples as Nations continue to exist as a political anomaly in terms of the international legal system of the United Nations.  Specifically, in this hemisphere of Abya Yala [the Americas] not only is this true in the face of centuries of colonization but also in terms of the options for relief from the crime.

Self definition being the precept of self determination, the three options of GA 1541 do not adequately describe the outcome of principles of self-determination which would define the Indigenous Peoples and our continuing relationship to our ancestral territories and surviving traditional societies.

The Emergence of the Indigenous Nations is a daily occurrence, one which is manifested in accord with natural laws of reciprocity and harmony with the natural world, which includes our fellow human beings.  This ancient tradition is the shared cultural infrastructure of our confederations of families, clans, communities Pueblos and Nations. It could be characterized as a State of Integrity, which is not independent but interdependent within the network of ecosystems that describe our traditional homelands, sacred sites, territories and nations: the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth.

Thus the Emergence of the Fourth Principle for decolonization: INTERDEPENDENCE – self determination as an expression of community ecology and environmental sustainability. It is a particular and universal principle that may serve as a threshold concept to arrive at that ancient place once called the New World, if only we could create and travel guided by maps of the geography of self-determination. 




TONATIERRA
P.O. Box 24009 Phoenix, AZ 85074
Email: tonal@tonatierra.org 
www.tonatierra.org

Mandate of the Indigenous Peoples

May 9, 2012

UN Headquarters, New York NY
To attempt to institute the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples under a single mandate, that of the states of the UN system, is equivalent to the imposition by diplomacy of domination of the same monopolistic ideology of the Doctrine of Discovery in present tense, and in violation of the right of Right of Self Determination of the Indigenous Peoples.
********************************** 
E’ehecatl
El Viento de Aztlan
Primavera   Xihuitl  Nahui  Acatl   Spring  2003

Mandate of the Indigenous Peoples
All peoples have the right to self determination.”  These are the words of United Nations General Assembly resolution 1514, passed on December 14, 1960, in the wake of the cresting global movement to declare colonization a crime against humanity, a violation of the international law of nation states.
The declaration of colonization as a violation of international law for the first time in the context of the United Nations system, placed the government states who were in violation under the scrutiny of the General Assembly, and procedures were put in place to identify criteria that would specifically describe the Non-Self-Governing Territories under colonization and also establish a reporting system for the violating government states.
From the same resolution, GA 1514:
The General Assembly,
Solemnly proclaims the necessity of bringing to speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations…
For over 3,500 years our relatives have been contending with colonization under the Aryan philosophy of racial and cultural superiority in their traditional territories, ever since even before they were invaded by Alexander the Great.  They also, like we native nations of this continent of Abya Yala are called Indians. They call themselves the ADIVASI, one of the Indigenous Peoples of the Indian subcontinent. Along with the Adivasi, the Maori of Aotearoa (AKA New Zealand), the multiple and diverse Indigenous Nations from the former Soviet Union, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Indigenous Peoples of the Southeast Asian Peninsula as well as the Mainland, we joined as the Indigenous Nations of Abya Yala, Turtle Island (AKA the Americas), Africa, Europe and Australia to witness and strengthen the global political position of the Indigenous Peoples upon the inauguration of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, May 13, 2002 in New York.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is a 16 member body of independent experts, eight of whom are nominated by the government states, and eight nominated by the Indigenous Peoples themselves in a process that reflects 7 geo-cultural regions of the world with one rotating seat. Established as an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, the Permanent Forum creates for the first time within the global system of governance that is the United Nations, a vehicle by which the Indigenous Peoples and Nations can represent their interests directly to the UN.
 
The inaugural session of the Permanent Forum was opened by the Tadodaho (traditional chief) from Onandaga, guardians of the Grand Council Fire of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois
Confederacy.


Among the Nican Tlacah of Anahuac, there exists an especially strong tie of culture and kinship with the Haudenosaunee that goes back to the Wounded Knee conflict of 1973, and further still to Mad Bear Anderson's continental Unity Caravan under the White Roots of Peace and the initiative he led to Cuba, attempting to achieve international recognition for the Haudenosaunee passport and nationality on a par with those of the US or any other government state. More profoundly, among the archives of traditional memory of the Tezcatlipoca Azteca, there exists the legends of the teaching of relations between the founder of the Six Nations Confederacy, called the Peacekeeper, and the disciples of the teachings of Quetzalcoatl Ce Acatl in Mexico.
As the first week of the Permanent Forum drew to a close, a sense of urgency and acknowledgment united the indigenous representatives at the UN.  The Indigenous Peoples - our nations, communities, and families are on the front line of the assault being systematically waged as the global multinational corporate structure voraciously extracts natural resources and spews contamination in order to maintain industrial dominance of the current consumer market model of economic globalization. At the Permanent Forum, the Indigenous Nations testified repeatedly that time is running out to rectify the relationship of the human society globally in order to achieve sustainability within the natural ecosystems of the Earth.  It will soon be too late for words, too late to reverse the effects of the petroleum based industrial model that has pushed the world into the scenario of what will inevitably be the terrible effects of global warming, environmental degradation, and deforestation.
Among the Indigenous Caucus convened at the UN in New York, it has also become mutually acknowledged and reinforced at each international conference where the Indigenous Peoples are in attendance, that the Indigenous Peoples worldwide are the best hope as a strategic political bloc with global context, history, and coherence that is not controlled by the fractured allegiances or ideologies of the nation state paradigm, nor captured by the values of the multinational corporate regime of global resource expropriation.  At the core of this mutual acknowledgment is an appreciation for the spirituality of the ancient and diverse Indigenous Peoples as caretakers of the Earth.

This enduring foundation has provided the precept of a planetary constitution that describes the Indigenous Nations and Peoples as a global confederation of families, communities, organizations, nations, and Nations of Nations in alliance. In this hemisphere, this precept is known as the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor.
When Pope Alexander the VI, himself a member of the infamous Borgia family, issued the Papal Bull Inter Cetera on May 3-4,1493 the precursor estates that have led to the present colonial nation state formation on this continent were given their empowerment in terms of the international legal system of the so called “West.”  It was under the jurisprudence of this international decree, clothed in the religious authority of the Vatican, that the colonization, terracide and genocide of this hemisphere acquired its initial justification as a civilized action, again in terms of the “West”, and specifically for the representative political powers of the time: the royal families of Spain and Portugal. Under this edict, the geographical fact of discovery was tied to the politico-religious act of dominion implemented with exclusivity in favor of the European American invaders.  

The New World was such for the West not just in the geographical sense, it was new and revolutionary in the fact that the Indigenous Peoples social contract that gave context to the political infrastructure of the culture emanated through a spirituality appreciative of the elemental forces of nature, in which there was no concept of things outside of nature or “supernatural.”  Nor was the human society given preference or exclusivity as the being the dominant personality of society, which included the other life forms of winged, crawling, swimming, etc., creatures in the natural world order.  It was these egalitarian political precepts that upon arrival in the Europe of the 1500’s, gave germination to the revolutions of liberation which eventually toppled the rule by royalty in this hemisphere, and gave birth to the modern republic-states presently internationally recognized and in status as members of the UN. In the transition, however, from colony to republic, not one of the newly formed nation states of the hemisphere has revoked the initial claim to jurisdiction established under the Papal Bull of 1493.
In fact, although the UN General Assembly resolution 1514 proclaims colonization as a violation of international law, and the criteria and protocols for decolonization clearly are relevant and should be applied to the indigenous nation territories, a Doctrine of Denial and complicity exists among the government states of the western hemisphere to block implementation by the Indigenous Nations and Peoples to the right to decolonization.

In other words, the processes of decolonization applied after World War II to the African continent and other colonial territories is not to be repeated or made inclusive of the Indigenous Peoples.  To accomplish this duplicity, the government states of the United Nation systems refused to accede to identifying the Indigenous Peoples as Peoples, referring to us as "indigenous populations" only or in the singular as “indigenous people” thus precluding the right to self determination and collective rights within the global matrix which is the established international legal system of the so called “civilized world.”  Specific to North, South and Central America, the government states of the continent have colluded to enforce the Doctrine of Denial under the international legal system and the United Nations, within which these governments are recognized as "indigenous to the hemisphere" thus shielding them collectively as violators of UN General Assembly Resolution 1514.
The call for a permanent forum within the United Nations system for Indigenous Peoples derives from the historical resistance movement of the Indigenous Peoples and Nations worldwide to colonization. In the implementation, the UN has established within the Economic and Social Council the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The concept of a forum is a description of social space, wherein a dialogue is possible.  Any true dialogue requires a minimum of two perspectives, a dynamic of duality must be present at all phases of the process, including planning, implementation, and evaluation. Within the diplomatic language of the international system, unless the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is to be simply a dis-empowering token exercise for the Indigenous Peoples, there must be recognition from the start that the Permanent Forum operates under a Dual Mandate.
We have arrived at the moment in history of the world where a dialogue among civilizations and world views is necessary at the global level.  Only so will the hope for Peace and Dignity with justice for our human society survive, established through a sustainable ecological relationship to the Mother Earth itself as foundation.  This is the Mandate of the Indigenous Peoples; it supersedes that of the United Nations system; it is an expression of the jurisprudence of indigenous international law: it is the path of Tradition and Liberation.
NAHUACALLI
Embassy of Indigenous Peoples
www.nahuacalli.org
Contact: Tupac Enrique Acosta, Yaotachcauh
chantlaca@tonatierra.org
TONATIERRA
www.tonatierra.org

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

UNPFII 2018: Statement by Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus


Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus

Seventeenth Session of the UNPFII 16–27 April 2018


DOWNLOAD PDF


We note the dominant themes of our Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus for 2018 as being self determination, indigenous justice, the doctrine of discovery, access to Indigenous lands territories and resources, and water sovereignty – which includes our rights to  define our own freshwater and ocean policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to our unique circumstances. We note the continued contamination of water for the purposes of resource extraction and nuclear weapons industries. Access to justice for Indigenous Peoples remains an issue, in particular for Indigenous women, Indigenous children, and Indigenous defenders of lands, resources, territories and human rights. With this in mind the caucus offers the following recommendations:


1.     We echo president Evo Morales’ call in 2008 for a UN Convention on Water, to be developed with full participation of Indigenous Peoples. The water is life issue reminds the world community of the need for action to protect, and enhance water quality by first aligning all initiatives related to water with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We assert our human right to water and the role of water in our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, communal and environmental wellbeing. We take a position against aquacide, the killing of the waters.

2.     That the Permanent Forum request a report on the implementation of the recommendations made, to be submitted to the forum at its 18th session, in 2019. The report should analyse the challenges as well as the associated factors that United Nations agencies and funds, member states and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations have faced.

3.     We call upon the UN to put in place monitoring systems to protect Indigenous Peoples and secure their rights to justice. Concerns continue around the violations of human rights of Indigenous women, children and water and land protectors. Disproportionate  incarceration, serious injury, and death are all linked to the criminalization of Indigenous rights to land and water protection.

4.     We further call upon the Permanent Forum to put in place a monitoring system to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples reporting to the Permanent Forum in their capacity as Indigenous communicators and human rights defenders.

5.     We call upon the Permanent Forum to continue to advance the work and recommendations of the UN Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery (2010), the Study on Cross-border issues (2015), and update the Treaty Study by Dr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez (1999), without discrimination and in full recognition and respect for the Rights of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples,  "Equal to all other peoples...". This report should be a full comprehensive and complete report that focuses on the systemic violations on the rights of the Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples,  and should extend to the co-development of treaty-centered national constitutions. We remain disappointed that there has been little in the way of education on the ongoing human rights violations normalized by the perpetuation of colonial doctrines, with increased potential for miseducation in the memorializing of the illegal invasions of Indigenous territories.

6.     We further recommend that the Permanent Forum reiterate their call for member states to repudiate all instances of the discovery doctrine, and that states discontinue the memorializing of colonial invaders through official holidays, monuments and events.

7.     We echo the 2017 calls of Chief Oren Lyons and member state South Africa for the advancement of a Convention for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recommend that a working group be established, led by Indigenous Peoples, to consider advancing towards a United Nations Convention on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is our view that self determination on our own terms will remain elusive while inaction towards a Convention persists. This evidenced in the continued difficulties of access for Indigenous Peoples to the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.

8.     As a recourse for peoples who face political persecution for presenting, or experience continued barriers to attending, we call for the return of prioritisation to the Global Indigenous Peoples and Womens’ Caucuses.

9.     Furthermore, we reaffirm that our participation, advice and recommendations to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples in defense of the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth, does not constitute the devolution or reduction of the Mandate of Indigenous Peoples now or in the Future Generations.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative


Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative
Year 4 Reed, Day Two Crocodile
Wednesday, March 12, 2003



O’odham Jeved (Territories of the O’odham Nations) - Emerging from a three-day traditional gathering of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos, a legation of Indigenous Peoples initiated today a global Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative intended to restore the principles of "yectlamatcayetoliztli" (PEACE) as a mandate of humanity from the future generations. The proclamation was made from the NAHUACALLI, Embassy of the Indigenous Peoples located in Phoenix, Arizona.
"We must disarm the global regime of nationalism of the state. The psychologies of hatred and competition under which the government states of the world would have us sacrifice our humanity and our children to senseless wars will no longer be tolerated. As Indigenous Peoples of the world, we further challenge the government states of the United Nations system to criminalize the destructive impact of warfare upon the ecosystems of the Earth itself, by defining appropriate international legal protocols regarding the conduct of warfare such as the Geneva Convention." Said Tupac Enrique Acosta, member of the Calpolli Nahuacalco, Izkalotlan Pueblo, Nahuatl Nations Confederacy.



To implement the Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative, representatives of the diverse and distinct Indigenous Nations attending the launch of the global campaign, moved out from the Nahuacalli embassy in the Four Directions, with assignments to convoke the traditional spiritual leadership from around the world to engage in the restoration process of Peace and Dignity. The first objective of the Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative is to make known to the conscience of all humanity that the calls to war by the government states will not apply to the Indigenous Peoples globally, and will not be answered.

Instead, the Indigenous Nations of the Great Turtle Island Abya Yala [Americas] propose that the indigenous nation confederations from around the world rise to reclaim the destiny of the future generations, by invoking spiritual and moral authority as the protectors of the Mother Earth. The Indigenous Peoples of this hemisphere have maintained such a spiritual, cultural, and political confederacy since time immemorial. This confederacy is known as the Confederation of the Eagle and the Condor.



In terms of communications, the IPPI has implemented a hyperspace linkup, and will be delivering a message to the United Nations representatives of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues under the Economic and Social Council on May 15 in New York. The Nahuacalli in Phoenix, Arizona will serve as clearing house for the first phase of the Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative.

Referring to the Xiuhpohualli, the count of years of the Izkalotekah which correlates to other counts of calendar systems among the Maya and Nahuatlaca Nations of Anahuac, the legation travels now to fulfill an ancestral mandate called the prophecy of the Sixth Sun given on August the 13, 1521 in Mexico.

"It is the dawn of the Sun of Justice. The first rays of light from the East have been seen, they have been felt," said one youth who has made a lifelong commitment to the goals of the initiative. "Now is the time to go forward in a sacred manner. A new world is about to be born."

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TONATIERRA
www.tonatierra.org

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Urgent Call for Solidarity: Mother Earth Defenders Labeled as Terrorists


Dear sisters and brothers,

Nya wenha Skanonh

Warm and respectful greetings. We write to you an urgent message and request for solidarity. Two of our indigenous sisters, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Kankana-ey- Igorot, Special Rapporteur to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues and Joan Carling, Kankanaey, Igorot co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development have been placed on a list including 600 people declared by the Philippine government as terrorists.

These Mother Earth and human rights defenders must be protected and it is time we rise up collectively to ensure that no harm comes to them. We all know they are now in grave danger. As the Human Rights Watch stated it is a “Government hit list”. They will be targeted.

During the UN International Expert Group Meeting, held 23-25 of January 2018, the American Indian Law Alliance and the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee recommended that a reporting and monitoring system be developed by the United Nations when threats of violence are made by Member States and organizations to Indigenous Mother Earth and Human Rights Defenders. These threats and attacks need to be fully documented and followed by UN mechanisms.


The recommendation was derived from a threat one of our brothers received after posting his statement to social media.

Lists of these threats must be completely transparent and made available to all Member States, UN Agencies, Organizations and NGO’s. A formal penalty or sanctioning system must be developed as retribution for offenses and be implemented by UN Mechanism to sanction these violators. These sanctions must also be made public.

Utilizing the UN Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, United Nations Charter and international Human Rights Laws, overseen by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, Nations and Organizations with the full, prior and informed consent to any processes that are discussed and later agreed upon.


We need to send a clear message that violators are put on notice that we as Indigenous Peoples, Nations and Organizations will not tolerate threats and attacks to our people or lands.

We need to identify and enlist all Indigenous Peoples, Nations, Organizations, UN Agencies, UN departments and Member States willing to assist in these efforts.

We look forward to your feedback and working with all of you on this very important issue facing all Indigenous Environmental and Human Rights Defenders.

During the UN International Expert Group Meeting, Joan Carling stated that there is always an expectation of a trade-off when working within these systems and by Member States. I say to all of you we have nothing left to give this includes our lives.

Lastly, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, stated during this same UN International Expert Group Meeting “The protection of our rights must come first”.

Please share this.

With love and solidarity, 

Warm regards,

Betty Lyons
President/Executive Director
American Indian Law Alliance 
315-382-9888




The American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) is an Indigenous NGO in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC).

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

DACA: Human Rights Cannot Be Deferred

American Indian Law Alliance
 

DACA: Human Rights Cannot Be Deferred

For those who know the Americas as the Great Turtle Island - Abya Yala, DACA is not an immigration crisis – it is a matter of simple human rights

As we approach the March 5th date for expiration of the legal immigration status of so-called DREAMERS – those who came to the US as children and now fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, or DACA – we as citizens of the original Indigenous Nations of this continent have been watching closely.

We have dealt with these issues ever since the first Europeans crossed the Atlantic and claimed the right of “discovery” over lands to be called the Americas, a continent known to us for millennia as the Great Turtle Island - Abya Yala. Since the founding of the United States on our lands in 1776, these policies and practices have had a devastating impact on the territories and Human Rights of our Original Nations and our relatives from both north and the south of the US borders.


For us, DACA is not an immigration crisis. It is a human rights crisis. And human rights cannot be deferred. Every day approximately 122 people lose DACA protection. This cruel policy immorally punishes and traumatizes innocent young people and their families.

As Indigenous Peoples, we know our history and we know our relatives.  Many so-called “undocumented” people are in fact Indigenous Peoples, children of Original Nations with a millennial history of travel across the continent to trade and engage in cultural and ceremonial obligations at sacred sites of their traditional territories long before the US (and its international borders) even existed.

The US-Mexico border is not an indigenous border. Similarly, to citizens of the Onondaga Nation – part of the Six Nation Haudenosaunee Confederacy, whom the European Americans call the Iroquois – the US-Canadian border runs through our traditional lands that we view as one inseparable nation.

O'otham Nations
Sin Fronteras
[Arizona-Sonora]
 Dividing families is something we cannot imagine doing to others, because we have been through this pain many times at the hands of the same government. That is why we as Indigenous Peoples support immediate passage of a “clean” Dream Act, and it should definitely not be linked to funding a wall along the US-Mexico border that Indigenous Nations never consented to in the first place. A border wall will exacerbate human rights violations and bring horrendous environmental destruction to the land.

There is a twisted irony at play here. As original Nations our ties to the land emerge from time immemorial. Today however we are forced to call for justice from the international arena in order to restore our rightful stewardship over our territories.

In 2014 the Onondaga Nation filed a land rights action against the US government with the Organization of American States (OAS) for the illegal taking of our lands. We had taken our case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear our case in part because "it would be too disruptive to the full use and enjoyment of the non-Native people who now live on our lands."


While the US constitution says that treaties – such as the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua with the Haudenosaunee, signed by George Washington for the United States – are the supreme law of the land, the United States has failed to enforce the promised recognition and protection of our lands from illegal invasion by settlers. As we have sought justice in the US courts for this illegal theft of our land, the courts refused to hear the case, citing the Doctrine of Discovery and claiming “it would be too disruptive” to the “justified expectations” of non-native people now living on our lands.

To be clear, the Onondaga Nation explicitly stated we do not want to “deport” people from our lands, the way we have been displaced historically. Yet while the US claimed it feared disrupting our non-native neighbors, they would hypocritically deport young Dreamers who have grown up in the US, with no regard for disrupting their lives and families.

We have had to face the fact that our legal case has no further recourse in the U.S. court system.  The "American Dream" of justice for all is simply not true, and for the Indigenous Peoples, it never has been.


If we are to truly discuss US immigration, we should start in 1493 with the “Doctrine of Discovery”, a series of Papal Bulls declaring lands not occupied by Christians could be claimed in the name of the explorers’ European sovereigns. Far from ancient history, the doctrine to this day underlies the law and policy related to Indigenous land rights and human rights in US courts and across the continent. The lingering racism underpinned by the doctrine is the real “constitutional crisis” unfolding before us daily, a symptom of the underlying crisis of self-definition of the US body politic that lies at the root of the tree of the American “experiment” in democracy.

If the US congress is incapable or incompetent to protect the Human Rights of the DREAMERS and their families, where shall we turn for justice? The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted in 2007, proclaims in Article 36:

Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.”

In the spirit of responsibility for caretaking the land for future generations, we call upon leadership from all sectors of society to live up to the ideals of democracy and decency, of human rights and justice and act immediately to protect the DREAMERS and their families, and to recognize, respect and guarantee the basic dignity and inherent human rights of all peoples, including Indigenous Peoples’ equal right of self-determination.

The time has come for our brothers and sisters of the United States to finally and for the first time discover the basic law of respect for our shared and common humanity which binds us all together as equal relatives of the Human Family.  The time has come to supersede the racism of the Doctrine of Discovery.

No one is illegal. Human rights cannot be deferred. 

Betty Lyons, a citizen of the Onondaga Nation, is president of the American Indian Law Alliance



March 23, 2012
Arizona State Capitol -  House of Representatives
A forum to address the implications of the Doctrine of Discovery in context of the standards established by the adoption on September 13, 2007 of the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
Local - Regional - Continental - Global
Professor Robert Miller:
“How Euro-Americans claimed new territories just by showing up with their flag.”


United Nations Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery 

This preliminary study establishes that the Doctrine of Discovery has been institutionalized in law and policy, on national and international levels, and lies at the root of the violations of indigenous peoples’ human rights, both individual and collective. This has resulted in State claims to and the mass appropriation of the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples. Both the Doctrine of Discovery and a holistic structure that we term the Framework of Dominance have resulted in centuries of virtually unlimited resource extraction from the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. This, in turn, has resulted in the dispossession and impoverishment of indigenous peoples, and the host of problems that they face today on a daily basis.




POHUALLATOAYAN
ABYA YALA
September 16, 2017