|Delegates of the United Confederation of Taino People on the first day of the 2012 session. From left to right: Damon G. Corrie, Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, Taino AnaYuisa Pellicier, and Roberto Mukaro Borrero.|
11th Indigenous Peoples Forum Opens at United Nations
United Nations, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – The 11th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened on Monday at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Almost two-thousand representatives of Indigenous Peoples, non-governmental organizations, and academia have per-registered to attend the two-week session. The special theme for the year is the “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests.”
The session opened in the General Assembly Hall with a traditional welcome greeting from traditional Onondoga spiritual leader Sid Hill and a ceremonial Mayan blessing. In the afternoon, various statements were made concerning the special theme “The Doctrine of Discovery” by governments, UN agencies, and Indigenous Peoples. Several conference room papers were circulated that highlighted the history of the Doctrine of Discovery and cited examples of its specific impact on Indigenous Peoples.
The Doctrine of Discovery is a concept of public international law used to support judicial decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governments. The Doctrine is linked to Christian expansionism being in 1452 and again in 1493 with Columbus in the Caribbean. Among the Indigenous Peoples attending the historic session are Caribbean Indigenous Peoples representatives from Barbados, Boriken (Puerto Rico), Guyana, and Waitikubuli (Dominica).
The opening of the Forum was however not unmarked by controversy as changes in accreditation did not allow all the registrants to attend the opening session. The issuance of secondary passes and pass limits added to confusion and frustration many attendees experienced upon their arrival to UN headquarters. According to the Secretariat of Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues the use of secondary passes is suspended for Tuesday, May 8th.