Steven Newcomb: UN perpetuates dominance of Native peoples

Steven Newcomb of the Indigenous Law Institute. Photo from Finding the Missing Link

Steven Newcomb questions whether an upcoming meeting to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will keep Native peopl under a system of dominance:
Given that U.S. federal Indian law and policy is a system of domination, as the U.S. Supreme Court—both the majority and the dissent—recently acknowledged when they used the word “subjection” to characterize that system, a question arises. It’s a question that I posed at the 2013 North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus gathering on the lands of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, March 1-3, 2013:

Will the UN High Level Plenary Meeting, which is falsely being called a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (see my column of April 6, 2014) and its outcome document work toward ending the domination/subordination framework of U.S. federal Indian law and policy that has been and continues to be used against our originally free nations and peoples? Or will that document serve to accept, and purport to “work within,” the domination /subjection framework?

To date I have received no answer to this and other questions that I and a number of my colleagues have been raising about the upcoming UN HLPM. For those of us who have been at this work for decades now, it is frustrating to see that work being undermined by an attitude of acquiescence toward the patterns of domination.

Evidence of those patterns is found in the U.N. term “indigenous peoples,” which the UN defines to mean ‘peoples under dominance,’ or ‘peoples reduced down to a status under domination.’ Those who ignore this dimension of the UN meaning of the word “indigenous” are only dealing on the surface level of the challenging issues of domination and subjection that form the root of the problem.

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Steven Newcomb: Some Questions Regarding the UN High-Level Plenary Meeting (Indian Country Today 7/29)

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