Friday, September 25, 2020

Original Nations Day

Original Nations Day

Steven Newcomb, Indigenous Law Institute

 


 

 

DOWNLOAD PDF

 

More and more cities are switching from Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples Day.” This trend is partly due to an increasing awareness of the fact that Columbus was a heinous figure in world history. For many, his name now evokes a bloody imagery of injustice, colonization, and destruction for the Original Nations of the hemisphere that lies across the Atlantic Ocean west of Europe.

 

Columbus is now being generally associated with a multi-century legacy of death, enslavement, genocide, and domination. As James A. Loewen states in Lies My Teacher Told Me (2005),

“The way American history books treat Columbus reinforces the tendency to not think about the process of domination.” (p. 35)
He continues:

"The traditional picture of Columbus landing on the American shore shows him dominating immediately, and this is based on fact: Columbus claimed everything he saw right off the boat. When textbooks celebrate this process, they imply that taking the land and dominating the Indians was inevitable if not natural."

 

Changing “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day” makes it seem as if we are switching the focus away from that process of domination. But it is sensible to ask ourselves in what context is the term “indigenous” being used? I have a dictionary from the 1940’s that lists the word “indigenous” as meaning “something natural to a given place, native.” A particular variety of plant or an animal might be considered “indigenous” because it occurs naturally in that place and is not invasive. In that sense, Indigenous Peoples Day could be interpreted as meaning Natural Peoples Day or Original Peoples (Nations) Day. 

 

 


 

Sometimes what is left out of focus and not mentioned is more important than what is focused upon and made explicit. Certainly we want to focus on what it was like for nations and peoples when our ancestors were living their free existence before the dominating empires of Christendom reached this part of the planet. Think 1491. But we also have to talk about the oppression and abuse that our nations have been experiencing ever since the invasion that began in 1492, which is an existence lived under Christian European domination.

 

Decades of work in the United Nations system by nations and peoples that have experienced colonialism at the hands of “states” (of domination) has placed a global focus on the word “Indigenous” in the international arena. That work at the UN has not adequately focused attention on the background context of the international working definition of the word “indigenous.” Hardly any focus has been placed on the system of domination that was established by the States of Christendom on top of the original nations and peoples of this continent and this hemisphere located across the Atlantic Ocean, west of Europe, and in other parts of the globe such as the islands of Oceania, Australia, and Aoteroa (“New Zealand”).

 

Domination occurs and is maintained when a free nation or people is forced to exist beneath and subject to a dominating system established on top of them, when the people are made to live subject to a will external to their own. As will become clear below, when Original Nations get reduced from their original free and independent life to an existence lived under domination, they are called “indigenous.”

 

The term “conquest” is typically used as a cover-word to draw attention away from ongoing, persistent, and traumatic processes of domination, typically called “civilization.” The word conquest is used as a way of making domination seem acceptable. “Hey, we won, you lost, you’re conquered, now get over it!” Here’s my response to that flimsy logic: What you’re calling “conquest” is your claim of a right of domination, and we do not accept the argument that you have “the right” to claim a right of domination over nations and peoples that were existing free and independent before a system of domination was coercively imposed on them.

 

To be defined as “indigenous” in the context of the United Nations is to be defined as being “the descendants” of a People that had been living free in their original territory, when “persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived [invaded] there from other parts of the world.” The invading people then “overcame them, and by conquest settlement or other means,” and “reduced them to a non-dominant or colonial situation.” (Khan and Talal, Indigenous Peoples: A Global Quest for Justice (1987)). The opposite of non-dominant is dominant, which is simply another word for domination.

 

Eventually, after WWII the terms “colonial peoples” and “indigenous peoples” began to be used synonymously. After the 1960’s, the term “colonial peoples” was dropped in favor of Indigenous peoples. Here’s the point: Neither of those two phrases specifically names domination. As a result, the issue of Indigenous peoples being “peoples” that have been forced to live under and subject to a system of domination has not been identified as the primary problem needing to be solved. The international working definition of the term “indigenous” effectively hides the context of the domination system.

 


Those of us who trace our existence to Original Nations and Peoples are able to think back to the pre-invasion existence of our ancestors. That was when our ancestors were still living free and independent of the colonial powers from Western Christendom. The international working definition of the term “indigenous” gives the barest acknowledgment to the original free existence of our ancestors. But it then immediately moves away from that free existence by placing “Indigenous peoples” in a context of domination by means of a contrast between those who are considered “dominant” (i.e., the dominating society of the state”) and those peoples considered “non-dominant.”

 

The international working definition of the term “Indigenous” presumes that the right of our nations and peoples to live free and independent of domination was ended as soon as the domination system from Western Europe began its dominating (“civilizing”) process of violently and semantically subjecting our original nations to the words, metaphors, meanings, and behaviors of Western Christendom and successor states of domination. The mission of Christendom was to use brutal processes to work toward the genocidal uprooting and dissolution (elimination) of our free nations.

 

So, let’s suppose there is a successful campaign to change “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day” but the ongoing system of domination is not made a focus of that campaign. Suppose the domination system does not get addressed as the problem that needs to be rectified and ended. The day after “Columbus Day” has been changed to “Indigenous Peoples Day” it will seem as if some significant shift has occurred, when, in fact, the underlying system of domination will not have been touched or even brought into focus.

 

If we continue to use the language that merely reinforce the existing framework of domination, then what have we truly achieved? Now is the time to begin identifying the framework of domination, while at the same time challenging the false claim that the claim of a right of domination is valid.

 

We have the mentally difficult task of interpreting the colonizers’ words, texts, and metaphors in order to reveal deeper truths. Here’s a concluding point I wish to make, “Original Nations Day” is preferable to “Indigenous Peoples Day.” We could use “Original Nations Day” as a point of contrast to the domination system which is still being used against us, while making the argument there is no such thing as a right of domination. In other words, our nations still have the inherent right to exist free and independent of domination and dehumanization. This would be a step toward the explicitly stated goal of bringing an end to the claim of a right of domination and the resulting system of domination.

 


 

Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) is co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, and author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery (Fulcrum, 2008). Pagans is the basis for the documentary movie, The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code, directed and produced by Sheldon Wolfchild (Dakota), with narration by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree).

 
**************************

Links:

Framework of Dominance:

UN Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery

 

###

First Continental Encounter of Indigenous Peoples 1990: Declaration of Quito

 

**********


#AbolishColumbusDay


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Western Shoshone

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights


TO: The Honorable Mike Pompeo Secretary of State

VIA His Excellency Carlos Trujillo

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States

Washington, D.C.

 

August 18, 2020



 
RE:      Mary and Carrie Dann Case 11.140

United States

Follow-up on compliance with recommendations

 

Excellency:

 

I have the honor of addressing Your Excellency on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in order to request information about compliance with the recommendations set forth in Report No. 75/02 issued in the case cited above on December 27, 2002, in conformity with the provisions of Article 48{1) of the Commission's Rules of Procedure, with the purpose of including this information in Chapter 11.E of the 2020 Annual Report.

 

In this regard, I would like to request Your Excellency to provide updated and detailed information on the actions undertaken by the State during this year to comply with each of the recommendations issued in relation to the above cited case, which were not declared to have been fully complied with by the IACHR in its 2019 Annual Report. In addition, taking as a reference the information provided in previous Annual Reports, I ask Your Excellency to inform in particular on the following aspects:

 

1.          Considering that Mary Dann passed away in 2005, inform whether the State has taken actions to provide Carrie Dann with an effective remedy from the State for the human rights violations that she suffered, including the adoption of legislative of other measures to ensure respect for the Danns' right to property in accordance with Articles II, XVIII and XXIII of the American Declaration in connection with their claims to property rights in  the Western Shoshone ancestral lands.

 

 

2.          Considering the information provided by the State in the working meeting held in the 169th IACHR's Period of Sessions, inform the process' progress of reforming regulations and procedures to ensure that the property rights of indigenous persons are determined in accordance with the rights established in the American Declaration, including Articles II, XVIII and XXIII of the Declaration. Also inform whether there has been progress in the Federal Government's initiatives to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the actions to inform State agencies about the principles contained in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

I kindly request that the Government of Your Excellency present the information in accordance with the methodology set out in Annex 1 of this letter which includes the guidelines indicated by the General Guidelines for the Follow-up of Recommendations and Decisions of the IACHR, approved on September 30, 2019.

 

The report on the status of compliance with the recommendations of the IACHR and approved friendly settlement agreements for the year 2019 is available in the 2019 Annual Report of the IACHR, Chapter 11.E, on the website bit.ly/ CasesAn nualRe port2019

 

I request that Your Excellency take the steps that you deem necessary to ensure that the Commission receives the information it is requesting within one month from the date of transmission of the present communication. In addition, I inform you that the Annual Report must be approved by the plenary of the Commission prior to December 31, 2020 and consequently, a deadline of October 15, 2020 has been set to receive information from the parties for it to be considered in the 2020 Annual Report. In the event that the parties submit information after the date indicated,  said information  will  be considered in the 2021 Annual Report ofthe IACHR.

 

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration,


 

 

By authorization of the Executive Secretary

 

Enclosure


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights


 August 18, 2020



 

Ms. Julie Cavanaugh-Bill Attorney & Counselor at Law Cavanaugh-Bill Law Offices, LLC

401 Railroad St. Suite 307 Elko, NV 89801 julie@cblawoffices.org


RE:      Mary and Carrie Dann Case 11.140

United States

Follow-up on compliance with recommendations

 

Dear Madam:

 

I am pleased to address you on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in order to request information about compliance with the recommendations set forth in Report No. 75/02 issued in the case cited above on December 27, 2002, in conformity with the provisions of Article 48(1) of the Commission's Rules of Procedure, with the purpose of including this information in Chapter 11.E of the 2020 Annual Report.

 

In this regard, I would like to request you to provide updated and detailed information on the actions undertaken by the State during this year to.comply with each of the recommendations issued in relation to the case cited above, which were not declared to have been fully complied with by the IACHR in its 2019 Annual Report. In addition, taking as a reference the information provided in previous Annual Reports, I ask you to inform in particular on the following aspects:

 

1. Considering that in the working meeting held in the 169th IACHR's Period of Sessions the petitioners proposed to the State to organize a workshop with State agents about inter­ American and international standards regarding Indigenous peoples, and to establish a national working group to review Federal Indian law and policy in light of contemporary human rights standards, has it been any response from the State on these matters?


 

I kindly request that the information be presented in accordance with the methodology set out in Annex 1 of this letter which includes the guidelines indicated by the General Guidelines for the Follow-up of Recommendations and Decisions of the IACHR, approved on September 30, 2019.

 

The report on the status of compliance with the recommendations of the IACHR and approved friendly settlement agreements for the year 2019 is available in the 2019 Annual Report of the IACHR, Chapter I1.E, on the IACHR's website / bit.ly/CasesA nnualReport 2019

 

I request that you present the observations which you deem to be relevant for the Commission to have all of the necessary information regarding the case cited above, within a period of one month from the date of the transmission of the present communication. In addition, I inform you that the Annual Report must be approved by the plenary of the Commission prior to December 31, 2020 and consequently, a deadline of October 15, 2020 has been set to receive information from the parties for it to be considered in the 2020 Annual Report. In the event that the parties submit information after the date indicated, said information will be considered in the 2021 Annual Report of the IACHR.

 

I take the opportunity to greet you attentively,

 

Sincerely,


By authorization of the Executive Secretary

 

Enclosure



 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XrK3gkW1NFaDpqEufxn352vOGOzeLk9A/view?usp=sharing

 

 Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Annual Report

2019 


CHAPTER II

THE PETITIONS, CASES, AND PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES SYSTEM



 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Manifesto of the Mapuche Nation: Indigenous Self Determination, Territorial Integrity, and Continental Alliance

MANIFESTO OF THE MAPUCHE NATION
THE RIGHT of SELF-DETERMINATION
TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
and
CONTINENTAL ALLIANCE of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

September 22, 2020

 


 


1. The Mapuche Nation and the organization Council of All Lands Mapuche, calls on all the Indigenous Peoples of the continent Abya Yala to reaffirm in all its forms the right of self-determination. As holders of this right we call to deploy appropriate actions and organizational initiatives to exercise and implement this right. As the Mapuche Nation, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic in which we find ourselves and which seriously affects all humanity, we are currently making all organizational efforts to determine our collective future under the principle and the right of self-determination.


2. We affirm that we will realize the right to self-determination in alliance, with treaties and in diplomatic agreements between Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples. In this context we have the basis of the Treaty of Teotihuacán 2000, reaffirmed on September 22 of this year 2020 and which has been ratified in various organizational events that the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala have  realized collectively.


3. Today the Indigenous Peoples are called as Defenders of Mother Earth, to assume our collective responsibility and safeguard the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth for the exercise of sovereignty that has been affected by the processes of domestication and colonialism of the Nation-States that have established their presence in our sacred territories without our consent.


4. The future of Indigenous Peoples, in accord with the path of their own culture, self-determination, dignity and freedom will be possible to the extent that we develop a strong geopolitical alliance to safeguard our territories, biodiversity, and our collective rights before the threat of climate change that has been accelerated by the unlimited extraction of the earth's resources and by the imposition of an economic model contrary to the lives of Indigenous Peoples.


5. The Mapuche Nation encourages all the Indigenous Peoples of the Continent to jointly reinforce a geopolitical alliance, establishing and developing an organizational process that allows us to safeguard the present and future generations of Indigenous Peoples and humanity.

 

¡MARRICHIWEU!
¡Ten Times Over We Will Be Victorious!


Mapuche Nation - Council of All Lands
Wallmapuche, September 22, 2020

 

 
 

The Treaty of Teotihuacan 2000-2020

*************

MANIFIESTO DE LA NACION MAPUCHE

EL DERECHO A LA AUTODETERMINACIÓN

LA INTEGRIDAD TERRITORIAL

Y
LA ALIANZA CONTINENTAL DE LOS PUEBLOS INDIGENAS

22 de septiembre, 2020

 

1.-        La Nación Mapuche y la organización Consejo de Todas las Tierras, hace un llamado a todos los Pueblos Indígenas del Continente Abya-Yala a reafirmar en todas sus formas el derecho a la libre determinación. Como titulares de este derecho llamamos a desplegar las acciones e iniciativas organizativas para ejercer e implementar este derecho. Los Mapuche a pesar de la Pandemia COVID-19 en que nos encontramos y que afecta gravemente a la humanidad, estamos en la actualidad desplegando todos esfuerzos organizativos para determinar nuestro futuro colectivo bajo el principio y el derecho a la libre determinación.  

 

2.-        Afirmamos que, el derecho a la libre determinación lo realizaremos en alianza, con tratados y en acuerdos diplomáticos entre los Pueblos Indígenas. En este contexto tenemos la base del Tratado de Teotihuacán 2000, reafirmado el 22 de septiembre de este año 2020 y que se ha ratificado en diversos momentos organizativos que se han dado los Pueblos Indígenas de Abya-Yala.

 

3.-        Los Pueblos Indígenas de hoy como Defensores de la Madre Tierra, estamos llamado a asumir la responsabilidad colectiva y salvaguardar la Integridad Territorial de la Madre Tierra para el ejercicio de la soberanía que ha sido afectada por los procesos de domesticación y colonialismo de los Estados Nacionales que se han asentados en nuestros sagrados territorios sin nuestro consentimiento.

 

4.-        El futuro de los Pueblos Indígenas fundado en la ruta de su propia cultura, la autodeterminación, la dignidad y en libertad será posible en la medida que desarrollemos una fuerte alianza geopolítica para salvaguardar nuestros territorios, la biodiversidad, nuestros derechos colectivos, ante la amenaza del cambio climático que se ha visto acelerado por la extracción sin límites de los recursos de la tierra y por la vigencia de un modelo económico contrario a la vida de los Pueblos Indígenas. 

 

5.-        Los Mapuche alentamos a todos los Pueblos Indígenas del Continente a reforzar una alianza geopolítica de manera conjunta, estableciendo y desarrollando un proceso organizativo que nos permita salvaguardar el presente y las futuras generaciones de los Pueblos Indígenas y de la humanidad.

 

¡MARRICHIWEU!

¡Diez veces Triunfaremos!

Nación Mapuche – Consejo de Todas las Tierras.

Wallmapuche, 22 de septiembre, 2020

 
 


El Tratado de Teotihuacan 2000-2020

Continental Commission Abya Yala
TONATIERRA
Secretariat
www.tonatierra.org
tonal@tonatierra.org