Saturday, December 25, 2010


As Steven Newcomb observes, there is nothing new in Obama's "endorsement" of UNDRIP. His position is the same as Bush: federally recognized tribes in the US are not truly sovereign; they are free to develop as they wish as long as they don't oppose US policy. In other words, they are not self-determined, but rather, remain under the domination of the US government, which will continue to represent them in international fora, thus denying them their rightful voice in world affairs.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Genocide in Colombia

Colombia's indigenous representatives call on Canada and Canada's First Nations for protection from violence that threatens their very existence. UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples James Anaya has called on the UN special advisor on genocide to intervene.

Making a Mockery

As Rudolph Ryser notes in his commentary on the US State Department report endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, indigenous nations are welcome to determine how they develop economically and socially as long as it doesn't interfere with the interests of the US government, interests we all know to be ruled by Wall Street. If this is the best the United States can do in recognizing the right of indigenous peoples to exist as self-determined political entities, then Secretary Clinton and President Obama are simply running a shell game that makes a mockery of the international human rights regime.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mafia's Main Man

The Council of Europe report on the Prime Minister of Kosovo and his involvement with smuggling arms, narcotics and human body parts challenges the international community's integrity as well. Meanwhile, Wikileaks documents related to Cablegate reveal that his criminal network was at one point on the payroll of the US, NATO, the UN, and al-Qaeda all at the same time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Unseemly Tradition

Last month, in the runup to COP 16, the National Congress of American Indians called upon the US State Department and the UN to create a new category of Indigenous Nation Governmental Representative so US Tribal Nations will have a right to participate as governmental representatives in UN activities such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change and Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. While it is obvious that excluding indigenous governments from international conferences is anti-democratic, anti-indigenous states like the US still absurdly demand that tribal governments be treated as non-governmental organizations.

Coming from the United States, such nonsense is at least consistent with its current position as the only country in the world to officially oppose the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. What many may not understand is that the United States, despite playing host to the original UN gathering, has from the outset opposed the establishment of human rights in international law. Fighting their extension to indigenous peoples is merely carrying on an unseemly tradition.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


My colleague, Associate Scholar and CWIS Fellow for Traditional Health Geography Mirjam Hirch has been awarded Best Presentation Prize for her paper delivered at the November 2010 7th Kastelli Symposium in Oulu, Finland. The topic of her presentation was "the disruptive potential of geography in indigenous peoples' health." The theme of the symposium was "People in a changing world."

The Thule Institute and the University of Oulu, in cooperation with the University of Arctic Thematic Networks on Global Change and Arctic Medicine, organized the symposium. Ms. Hirch's presentation accompanied keynote presentations by Gert Mulvad of Greenland, Hannu Heikkinen of Finland, Joan Nymand Larsen of Iceland and Gunhild Hoogensen of Norway.

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