The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline is a modern case study on the power of unity for indigenous peoples. More than 300 tribal nations plus advocates from all over the world banded together to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of access to clean water, to place political pressure on the United States government, and to take actions ranging from signing an online petition to picking up the phone to urge banks and shareholders to divest from the project.
This month marks the sixth anniversary of the United States announcing it would endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And in 2017, the world will celebrate the ten year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration by the United Nations. While we have won some important victories, the work to implement the Declaration is far from over, and we must be united and vigilant to see the promises of the Declaration fully realized.
Two powerhouse boards, including leaders of nearly 30 tribal nations, came together to discuss law reform and how Indian nations can take their rightful places at the United Nations. Board members of the Indian Law Resource Center joined the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) meeting Oct. 24, 2016 in Cherokee, North Carolina.
The Indian Law Resource Center is working to include indigenous peoples’ collective rights and the human rights obligations of public sector financial institutions in a new treaty to govern transnational corporations and other business entities. Center staff, Chris Foley, delivered a statement to the UN Working Group on Oct. 24, 2016, in Geneva. The future international legally binding instrument is meant to address gaps in international law and in the voluntary guidelines of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In Other News:
2016 was a watershed year for the global indigenous rights movement. From winning the adoption of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the millions of people around the world galvanized by the fight being led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the movement demanding respect for the unique and inherent rights of indigenous peoples is growing larger, louder, and more powerful.
Please make a donation to the Indian Law Resource Center to celebrate this new era and to help ensure we can use this momentum to propel us forward in times of challenging change.