Monday, December 08, 2008

Practicing Reciprocity

The United Nations, like its member states, is an institution based on the forceful suppression of inherent indigenous rights. As a partner of market-based economies, these institutions have always conceded to aboriginal nations as little as was deemed necessary to maintain the illusion of inclusion.

With the advent of the environmental and human rights movements in recent decades, that illusion has become more difficult to perpetuate, resulting in the establishment of UN forums, committees and declarations to mollify the 1/3 of humanity left out of UN decision-making altogether.

This is not to say that no UN programs benefit original peoples in any way, but merely to note that concessions are not the same as cooperation. Cooperation begins with respect, and leads to reciprocity; reciprocity by the UN and its members would entail recognizing the great gift they received from the conservation practiced by first nations and the Fourth World. Practicing reciprocity would mean adopting the supreme indigenous value of generosity as the foundational value of the UN--a change of heart that has yet to take place.

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