Obstacle to Change
It is no secret that the United States government has been an obstacle to indigenous peoples’ direct participation in the global Climate Change treaty negotiations. A principal reason for US obstructionism has been it’s 34-year long opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies, National Congress of American Indians, Indian Law Resource Center and other indigenous organizations in the US and several tribal leaders have urged the Obama administration for more than a year to change it’s position and endorse UNDRIP. The Center for World Indigenous Studies position has been that the US cannot in its domestic legislation nor in its positions internationally responsibly advance policies to mitigate and adapt to the adverse affects of climate change unless and until it fully embraces the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The US government could quickly change the dynamics and stalled mess that is now passing as climate change negotiations with an affirmative endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this summer. Then as swiftly, the US government must begin considering implementation legislation that fulfills the promise of this important document.
--Rudolph C. Ryser, Chair, Center for World Indigenous Studies