U.S Reviews Indigenous Declaration

Kimberly Teehee of the White House Domestic Policy Council responds to questions during discussions on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Photo courtesy of indianlaw.org)

Washington D.C. (UCTP Taíno News ) -
Representatives from more than 20 tribes met last week with officials from the White House, the Department of State, Department of the Interior, and other federal agencies to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This was the third round of conversations in the U.S. review process of the Declaration, which was ratified by the UN General Assembly Sept. 13, 2007. 144 countries voted in favor of the Declaration. The U.S was one of four countries to vote against its passage along with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Today, the United States and Canada remain the only countries in opposition to the Declaration as New Zealand and Australia have officially reversed their positions.

“The Declaration is not only an issue important to federally recognized Tribe Nations but to State Recognized Tribal Nations as well as Indigenous Peoples like the Taíno whose ancient homelands are now U.S. territories” stated Roberto Borrero, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People.

He continued noting that “The Confederation has submitted a position paper to the State Department calling on the U.S. to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualification.”

According to participants at the meeting federal officials would not confirm when a decision on the Declaration would be made. U.S. Officials did report however that more than 2000 submissions concerning U.S. endorsement of the Declaration have been received.

State Department officials also announced that written submissions will be accepted through October 31, 2010.

UCTPTN 10.20.2010

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