Monday, May 23, 2011

NAIPC Statement: Doctrine of Discovery and Future Work

May 16 to 27, 2011 – UN Headquarters, New York City, NY


Agenda Item 8:  Future Work of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Subject: Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme for the 11th session in 2012
Presented by: Christopher H. Peters, Seventh Generation Fund, President

1. Thank you Madam Chair for the opportunity to speak today. I am honored to addressed this distinguished body of experts on this agenda item. The Indigenous Peoples of the North America region express our sincere appreciation for the decision made by members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to advance the critical topic of the Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme of the 11th session of the Forum.

2. Madam Chair, on March 18th and 19th, 2011 Indigenous Peoples and organizations from North America gathered at Blue Lake, California to discuss a number of urgent concerns and propose recommendations for the future work of the Permanent Forum. We were mindful of the Forum’s Final Report on UNPFII-9, (E/2010/43-E/C.19/2010/15) of May 19, 2010, and its acknowledgement of the Preliminary Study of the Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal Construct Known as the Doctrine of Discovery, E/C.19/2010/13, (4 February 2010), by Special Rapporteur, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, and in that regard, offer the following recommendations:

3. We reiterate a call for additional attention, study and documentation of the racist and genocidal doctrine of Christian discovery;

4. Advance our appeal for a deep exploration of the manner in which the doctrine of Christian discovery has been constructed, elaborated, applied, and extended in law, policy, socio-cultural practices, through both secular and religious practices, and to set the stage for its eradication and reversal as a fundamental element of colonialism and imperialism, with full and equal participation by Indigenous Peoples;

5. Request that the following recommendation of the Special Rapporteur be acted upon:
·      This study shall be expanded to include a global review of this doctrine and call upon the other Indigenous caucuses to discuss and prepare studies documenting the impacts in their regions.
·      That an international expert group meeting be convened to discuss the findings and implications of the preliminary study of the Doctrine of Discovery, and to present its findings to the next UNPFII session (2012) and to ascertain to what extent and how the Doctrine of Discovery and its attendant framework of domination are applied to Indigenous Peoples, and our lands and territories, throughout the world.

6. Call on this Forum (UNPFII-10) to take into consideration the recommendations of the Regional Hearing on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples, held on March 14, 2011 in Pueblo Grande, Phoenix and the upcoming hearings in Mexico and India, in preparation and to help shape the agenda for next year’s theme.

Wok lau