"The International Indian Treaty Council welcomed the recent announcement by President Barack Obama of the United States’ support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The president’s long-awaited statement of support was made in Washington, D.C. during the Dec. 16 Tribal Nations Conference, which was attended by more than 300 tribal leaders from throughout the U.S.
The president stated, “. … today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this Declaration. The aspirations it affirms – including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples – are ones we must always seek to fulfill.”
This endorsement by the U.S. for the Declaration is a positive, necessary and long-overdue step forward. The U.S. was the last country to express its support for the Declaration, which recognizes a broad range of rights for indigenous peoples in the U.S. and around the world. Australia, New Zealand and Canada joined with the U.S. to vote “no” when the Declaration was adopted by a vote of 144 countries in favor at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007. With last month’s announcement, all four of the opposing states have now changed their position.
IITC participated from the very beginning in the work on the Declaration at the United Nations. Upon hearing the announcement last week, IITC once again expressed our appreciation to the thousands of indigenous nations, organizations, and human rights allies who called upon the U.S. to express unqualified support for the Declaration since the U.S. announced the “formal review” of its position in April 2010. We also recognize the indigenous leaders who worked over many years to develop the Declaration and who have passed on. Their vision and commitment has continued to guide us throughout this process."
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