The American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
We are working toward a strong American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the Organization of American States. The American Declaration would affirm the right of self-determination, rights to education, health, self-government, culture, lands, territories and natural resources, and it would include provisions that address the particular situation of indigenous peoples in the Americas.
Indigenous leaders from 29 countries met in Washington, D.C., in December 2009, seeking consensus on a proposed legal framework to protect economic, cultural and political rights of indigenous peoples. This was the 12th meeting of the Working Group hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS) to negotiate an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that can be supported by OAS-member countries and indigenous peoples. The Working Group is made up of all OAS-member countries and indigenous representatives from throughout the Americas.
Center staff participated in the sessions. Staff members were on hand to provide legal advice to the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Working Group. Consensus was reached on four of the articles and portions of two more articles of the draft Declaration. Participants agreed to continue the dialogue.
During the OAS negotiation session, the Center coordinated meetings between the Navajo Nation, the Six Nations Confederacy, the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund and the United States State Department. The meetings were to encourage the State Department to take an active role in the negotiations.