United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Click United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to read the full Declaration.

The following are well written opinions by Russell Means and Lawrence Swallow about how Indigenous Rights are still being denied.

The Next Chapter in the Lakotah Revolution for Freedom

By Russell Means, June 1, 2011, Indian Country Today

Two weeks ago, I went to New York with a delegation from the Republic of Lakotah, to utilize the annual meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII, May 16-27). The primary purpose of the trip was to utilize past and present allies in the indigenous struggle to aid us in visiting a small, select group of other Nation’s Missions and their Ambassadors to the United Nation to discuss the international character of treaties between my people, the Lakota, and the United States of America.

In 1851 and 1868, the Lakotah, Dakota, Nakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho nations had militarily defeated the United States, and the United States had requested peace. Our nations agreed to peace at a treaty negotiation at Fort Laramie. The treaties were international instruments between two independent nations, unambiguous and unequivocal in defining the territories of the indigenous nations involved—it covered an area the size of the contemporary country of Guatemala.

Since the time of the signing of the treaty, the Lakotah have insisted that the United States respect its obligations under the treaties. Our insistence has even taken us to the United States Supreme Court. Now, how ridiculous is that, for us to go to the violator of the treaties, expecting that same violator to force itself to live up to its own laws. How can we allow an international contract dispute to be decided by the Violator?

Over the past century, one thing has become clear—the United States wanted to take its benefit from the treaties, and it never intended to abide by the other essential treaty provisions. OK, we get it. The US certainly is not going to begin to respect the treaties today.

There are some who say, “Well, if we don’t have our treaty, we have nothing.” To them, I say, “Look around you. You already have nothing! You experience the worst poverty, the worst health, the worst environmental problems, the worst of everything, plus they have stolen your territory, your freedom, and your self-respect. Wake up! What you wave around in the name of ‘sovereignty’ is no longer a treaty, it is a broken contract!”

Let’s be clear, if the US decides that it is not going to abide by the treaties (and it has done so repeatedly), then there must be consequences for that decision—just like if you sell me your car, but I do not pay you the money for your car. I don’t get to keep the car just because I have grown accustomed to driving it. Neither does the US get to keep our territory just because it allowed its citizens to invade and occupy our homeland, build homes and businesses, and steal wealth and resources from our homeland.

Article 37 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples () directly addresses this point:

Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honor and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Our treaties are international instruments, and require enforcement. If the US is not going to honor its obligations then international law is clear about an equitable remedy for that breach. Under the established international legal principle of inadimplanti non est adimplendum (“one has no need to respect his obligation if the counter-party has not respected his own”), if one party to a treaty consistently refuses to abide by the treaty, then the parties have to return to their original positions before the treaty was signed.

When I first came to New York in 1975 to help establish the UN office of the International Indian Treaty Council, we were in the midst of an indigenous revolution. (Two years before, we had liberated our community of Wounded Knee, indigenous peoples were on the move.) By 1977, we had kicked open the doors of the UN, and demanded our seat at the table of nations. In my recent visit to the UN, I was dismayed and saddened by what has happened since that time.

In the years since 1977, that revolution that we began has become bogged down in bureaucracy and procedure that divert and sidetrack our right to be free. Countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand trot out their sell-out “Natives” like puppets to mouth the ongoing genocidal policy of those countries. The original indigenous revolutionaries have been replaced by “technicians” who accept crumbs from the invaders who continue to seek to destroy us.

People in the throes of genocide are given five minutes to tell their story, with no recourse—it’s just on to the next speaker. It is time to renew the teachings of our ancestors.

We need a renewal of the international indigenous revolution, one that does not ask permission from the invaders of our homelands, one that recalls the original message of our ancestors never to surrender, one that advances our natural right to be free and independent peoples, with international personality and dignity and respect. The Republic of Lakotah is not waiting. We have renewed our strategies with other freedom-loving indigenous peoples, with countries like Bolivia who understand and support our aspirations, and with international civil society. We now encourage a new generation of indigenous young people to shake off their cynicism, put their talents to work, and take their place in history by writing the next chapter with us in the international indigenous revolution.

Russell Means, Oglala/Iynktowan, is Chief Facilitator, Republic of Lakotah, and author of the autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread.


Position Paper of the Great Sioux (Lakota) Nation Submitted By: Lawrence Swallow, Mahpiya Luta, Hehaka Inajin, WoSla Iyotaka, Menard Ospaye, 2009

NOTE: I developed this position paper approximately 2 month's after President Obama requested such from the Tribe's...None of the Tribe's, Treaty Council's, or Self-Proclaimed Tribal Entities had submitted one word...I then wrote this one and submitted it to all the known organization's in Sioux Nation Country (Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Tribal Chairman's Association, National Congress of American Indians, Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and to the President of the US).  Then all of a sudden, all other position paper's came out...I read each and every one, and not one stated how they would address the abject poverty of our Majority Reservation Population.  They were all self-serving, self-preserving, and wanted to be recognized as thee authority that the Federal Government will give money to...This position paper is the only one that addresses the past wrongs/injustice, brings our people out of total poverty and cuts a path for re-acculturation.

Whereas: The Great Sioux Lakota Nation is comprised of the Oglala (Pine Ridge/Scatter Their Own), Sicangu (Rosebud/Burnt Thighs), Hunkpapa (Standing Rock/Entrance of the Camp Circle), Mini Kan Ye Wo Jupi (Cheyenne River/Plants Near the Water), Si Ha Sapa (Cheyenne River/Black Feet), Oohenunpa (Cheyenne River/Two Kettles), and Itazipo Cola Bands (Cheyenne River/Without Bows).

Whereas: The Traditional reference for these bands is known around the world as Pte Hincala Oyate or Buffalo Calf People, and emanate as Indigenous to what is defined as the North American Continent. More specifically from the Territories surrounding and including the He Sapa or Black Hills of South Dakota and received their instruction from Matriarchal Origin.

Whereas: The Great Sioux Nation has inherent/aboriginal rights to exercise its authority under the Laws of Creation and Laws established with the United States under Treaties 1851 and 1868 followed by the Constitution of the USA. Recognizing sovereign territory boundary, mineral, timber, water, and natural resources to include Gold taken, and 98 million acres with full physical, emotional, and spiritual relationship.

Whereas: The Constitution of the USA establishes under Article 6, “Treaties Made with Indian Nations are the Supreme Law of the Land”. 1851 Treaty, Article 3, “The United States binds themselves to protect the aforesaid Indian Nations against the commission of all Depredations by the people of the United States”. As well as Provision /Annuity guaranteed under the 1868 Treaty, after Gold was discovered in the Black Hills which are; 1) Land allotment for every head of household, 2) Housing, 3) Education, 4) Health Care, 5) Welfare.

Whereas: The Black Hills and surrounding territory has never been for sale, and every attempt to force the settlement for Title has been through Military, Political, Judicial, and Social “Imposition Under Duress”, “Cultural Genocide”, “Media Blackout”, “Distortion of Truth/Fact”, “Policy Depredation”,

“Economic Attrition”, “Reconciliation Apathy”, and refusal to provide “Just and Proper Compensation” as required by Federal Law, to each and every member of the Great Sioux Nation, on the part of the United States of America its representatives and authority. (Reference the 1980 Supreme Court case The Great Sioux Nation vs. the United States of America, and the Cobell case between Indigenous Land owners and the Bureau of Indian Affairs/DOI).

Whereas: Treaties promoted, established and signed were initiated by the People of the United States with the Great Sioux Nation to include the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the Congress. As opposed to relegation of responsibility for Treaties to the Office of the President (Executive Branch) and only permits Unfunded Mandates. This also made Null and Void, the 1803 Louisiana Purchase as it was not the French's to sell. The Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 only authorized use of the Bozeman trail as a ‘trespass’ agreement.

Whereas: Traditional Customary Law establishes General Con census of 75% or more (1868 Treaty requires ¾ Adult Indian Male), and current political policy is designed to eliminate every possession the Great Sioux Nation rightfully owns. This includes Congressional 'Unilateral' Acts affecting original Treaty Stipulations such as, the Howard-Wheeler (Dawes) Act (1887) which stripped away further Land Allotment for every Head of Household and opened up the treaty territories to white settlement; The Indian Citizenship Act in concert with the Social Security Act/Snyder Act (1924) which stripped away Welfare entitlement and placed in the hands of States to administer Social Service Programs; The 1934 Indian Re-Organization (Self-Determination) Act which allowed for Simple Majority of 30% of ‘all eligible voters’, without a Treasury to function and replaced any semblance of Traditional Constitutional Structure with an emulation of the US Constitution. In contrast, the Tribal Government only requires 30% of those who register, and only those who reside on the reservation for one year, to vote. Effectively certifying elections and passing laws with less than 15% of all eligible voters, contrary to what is required by contemporary law. In addition, includes Self-Preservation strategies such as, “Sovereign Immunity from prosecution by its membership”, and utilizing the majority for statistic and Federal Acquisition (Funding) while not sharing its Tax Exemption status with the membership. Establishing the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Department of the Interior (Formerly the Department of War), and creating policies to regulate animals as a method of “Cetera Bull“ Papal Doctrines thus producing the “blood quantum”, and allowing for theft of land and resources of the general membership without a “Land Audit” to date; Creating the Indian Health Service which is self-serving, commercial, not providing adequate Health Care to all members, and requires members to purchase Private Health Insurance; Establishing the Housing Authority as another commercial entity (HUD), which now charges the membership rent and enforces an eviction policy; Finally, creating verbiage such as “Plenary Power”, when it comes to justification of theft and irresponsibility, when this is also illegal under Federal Constitutional Law called “Previous Condition of Servitude”.

Whereas: These many Depredations have permitted and caused the near total annihilation of the Lakota Philosophical, Cultural, and Customary Spiritual Structures to be replaced by Prejudice and Discrimination, Arrogance and Fear, as well as Ego-Centrism and Privilege. In contrast the Lakota Spiritual practices emanate from an All Inclusive Belief System, based on Selfless Spiritual Conduct and Confidence in Self without Fear. Whereas: The existing methods of providing services to the Individual Members of the Great Sioux Nation is ineffective as evidence in the BIA lack of accountability as well as the Tribal Government inability to maintain itself as a separate distinct entity or enforce proper Sovereign design and implementation.

Whereas: Each decade more and more of the Tribal Lands are being compromised to Non-Indian ownership without the knowledge or approval of the Majority Membership. Such policy will result in the future generations without a land base.

Whereas: The Tribal Membership who have not received an allotment of land as an entitlement are the true Sovereigns to the stated Treaty Territories and Natural Resources.

Whereas: The United States of America is directly responsible for the devastation, and destruction of the Lakota way of living, resulting in the general population being subject to decades of discrimination, forced assimilation, emotional suffering, dependence on ration of services, failed Federal and State policy, as well as Abject Poverty, while the rest of the USA continue to prosper in the surrounding areas.

Therefore Be It Resolved: It is not in the best interests of the general population of the Great Sioux Nation to rely on the Secretary of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or the Tribal Government to protect the “Aforesaid Indian Nations Against the Commission of All Depredations, by the People of the United States”. The only reasonable and feasible solution to decades old termination policy is to replace the current structure with Per Capita Distribution of Funds to Individual Tribal Members as established in US Code: Title 25, 117a.

That such disbursement be handled by Competent Federal entity such as the Treasury Department which allows for calculated Treaty Stipulation Entitlement as previously described and banking system, so long as the treaty territories are occupied.

That such Per Capita Disbursement be awarded due to the pain, suffering, and damages caused by the United States of America to the Individual members of the Great Sioux Nation whose lineage is established prior to the implementation of the 1934 Indian Re-Organization Act. Such Per Capita is to be awarded in an amount sufficient for each member to purchase a Home, Land, Education K-12, Health Insurance, and provide for their General Welfare. Also, stated amount shall be no less than $720,000 for each adult member the first year with annual payments to follow at $40,000. That accounts be automatically established for each born member under 18 to current year of age at $40,000 per annum, till they reach the age of maturity with Cultural Ceremony.

Be it Further Resolved: That each member of the Great Sioux Nation is to acknowledge and adhere to the basic practices of the Lakota to include possessing a basic understanding and knowledge of the Language, Culture, and Spirituality. That stated Per Capita is not a free entitlement, but comes with a requirement to re-acculturate oneself to their Heritage. Such requirements are to be reasonable yet competent in expectation by a re-established Tribal Council responsible for the conduct and spiritual honor befitting membership of the Great Sioux Nation.

Furthermore, Federal Policy from this day forward shall exercise full authority on behalf of the Great Sioux Nation over stated Treaty Territory, Boundaries, and People (Indians), thus allowing every member access to acquire land, a home, and establish residency as a Federal Entity. That every effort be made to appease the negative stereotypes and racism that occurs within the States of Western South Dakota, Southern North Dakota, Western Montana/Wyoming, and Northern Nebraska. That the membership of the Great Sioux Nation be removed from any and all Terrorist Organization profiles within the United States. That the United States cease and desist any and all further depredations upon the membership of the Great Sioux Nation to include double standards of equality, interference in “Sovereign Affairs”, and justice for all (Consistent and in addition to President Clinton’s Executive Order 2000).

Submitted this Year of the Woman 2009


DAN’S CORNER, October 2011


So, the government of Canada has finally consented to allow Indians the equal protection of Canadian human rights law as of June 11, 2011? This human rights legislation has been the law of the land (except on Indian Reservations) since 1977.

All good Christian Euro-Canadians should be wondering and asking themselves why were Indians legally denied equal protection of Canadian human rights law for so long? Or maybe all those good Christian Euro-Canadians would rather not ask the question nor know the reason for fear that it may force them to see themselves as they are. Meaning the progeny of liars, cheaters, thieves, rapists, serial killers, assassins and perpetrators of genocide. What does that make the present generation of good Christian Euro-Canadians?

Not wishing to see themselves as they really are is also the reason why the present Harper government is able to lie to and deceive Canadians about the reason why they initially flat-out refused to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

After being embarrassed and forced to sign the UNDRIP the Harper government initiated and continues to conduct a covert campaign in an effort to undermine and obfuscate this very important United Nations legal instrument thereby once again denying Indians equal protection of, in this instance, international law.

The mind set and attitude that those good Christian Euro-Canadians brought with them in 1492 when they invaded our homeland was that "white is right" along with the not so subtle attitude of "might is right".

This attitude has been and continues to be the driving force behind all of the destruction, death and genocide that has been perpetrated upon our homeland and our people over last five hundred plus years.

Surely those good Christian Euro-Canadians must see, as good white Christians, that their treatment of Indians over five hundred years goes against natural law, natural justice, all that is Christian and all that is moral or ethical.

Over time this attitude has been elevated to a doctrine, an assumption granted to them by their white god... a god of war and genocide.

These are the words of a child of genocide.

All My Relations, Dan Ennis


Canada Signs UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(well, sort of . . .) (only as an ‘aspirational document’, with conditions, may not override Canadian law)

A Four Arrows Summary of How the Handy “Doctrine of Discovery” Fits In

Canada Signs UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples – sort of

Ottawa, Ontario, 12 November 2010 – Late on a Friday afternoon in a week while Parliament was not in session, word quietly arrived in Ottawa from United Nations headquarters that Canada had signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with certain qualifications.

Three years earlier, most of the nations of the world at least to some degree enshrined the land, resource and human rights of the world's 370-million indigenous peoples in a UN Declaration. But not Canada. It refused to sign with the rest of the world.

Now, reversing that position, the official word was that Canada “reaffirms its commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples at home and abroad.”

Abroad, Canada has no problem with its commitment to the Declaration. At home, however, there are limitations. Canada said the Declaration was to be only "an aspirational document which speaks to the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, taking into account their specific cultural, social and economic circumstances."

Canada stressed that the Declaration was only “a non-legally binding document that does not reflect customary international law nor change Canadian laws," which continue to guide its policies.

Canada said it still has concerns over provisions in the text on lands and resources, aboriginal self-government and military issues, as well as balancing the rights of indigenous peoples, the private sector, and the state.

To ensure those concerns would not result in too much problem for the status quo. Canada said the Declaration would not be allowed to override Canada's own legal framework. That framework, Canada said, was sufficient to protect treaty and other rights. Canada said it had “learned from the experience of other countries,” and added it was “now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the declaration in a manner that is consistent with our constitution and legal framework."

The Declaration had been hammered out over 20 years of talks between diplomats and representatives of indigenous peoples from around the world. But when the Declaration was adopted in 2007, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States were the only countries to vote against it, claiming that sections on resource rights and other claims clashed with their constitutions. Fully 143 countries voted in favor, and 11, including Russia and Colombia, abstained. At the time Canada voted against it, government said the document was “fundamentally incompatible with Canada’s constitutional framework.” Now, things had changed. “Our intent was always to approach the declaration in a careful and principled manner,” Margot Geduld, a spokeswoman for Indian Affairs.

Australia said last year it had reversed its decision and would endorse the Declaration and New Zealand did so in April. The United States of America also said it was reviewing its opposition to the document.

Canadian native leaders welcomed Canada's endorsement of the Declaration, saying it was a "positive step" toward improving relations between natives and the state. "Today marks an important shift in our relationship”, a “move forward toward real partnership between First Nations and the government,”" said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. The signing was, he said, “the beginning of a new approach and a new agenda” away from a “colonial relationship . . . that has held back our people and this country.”

Thanks to AFP, Globe and Mail, and Canadian Press.

Please to click to read about American Indian Genocide