Sunday, May 6, 2012

Haudenosaunee Communiqué to UNPFII

To:      Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Bureau Chief, UNPFII Secretariat

From :  The Tadodaho Sidney Hill, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) Confederacy
The Tadodaho Sidney Hill of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) Confederacy extend my greetings and good will to you, the staff of the Secretariat  and each of the 16 members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). We look forward to seeing you, the staff of the Secretariat as well as the UNPFII members at the upcoming 11th session of the UNPFII, May 7 - 18, 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York City. We deeply appreciate the work you do for all Indigenous Peoples and your kind invitation for me, as Tadodaho, to participate in each of the opening sessions since 2001.

We understand that the UNPFII has been allocated Conference Room 1 in the North Lawn Building of UN Headquarters for the UNPFII sessions. Although Conference Room 1 is one of the largest meeting room in the North Lawn Building annex we realize that it may still not be large enough to accommodate all the Indigenous delegates attending this year's session. We acknowledge the difficulty this presents to the Secretariat's yearly planning and we would, however respectfully request clarification regarding the two options you are presenting to the various Indigenous Peoples Caucuses to address this situation.

We understand that the blue regular ground passes with the photo for each Indigenous delegate, which is an all area pass for the two weeks of the session is confirmed. However, the "secondary passes" for entry to the main meeting room will be limited to 500 persons as advised to you by UN Security. You have requested Indigenous Peoples to submit to you feedback pertaining to the two options for admittance to this year's 11th session and we are respectfully submitting our feedback on the two suggested options.

We understand the following information and suggestions have been recently submitted by you to the Indigenous Peoples Caucuses.

Option 1• One secondary pass per organization irrespective of status, under this arrangement, all organizations, Indigenous Peoples umbrella  organizations, NGO's with ECOSOC status, etc. will receive one secondary pass that they will have to rotate and share among its members.

Option 2• A number of passes are provided to each Caucus (limited to 20 - 30 passes per Caucus) and the remaining passes are given out by the Secretariat in the UN lobby on a  first come first serve basis.

We also note that it is necessary for the UNPFII Secretariat to provide passes for admittance to academics, parliamentarians, human rights commissioners and others.

Regarding the Side Events Passes, you have stated the following.

1• These passes are given to the organizers of the side events to distribute; or

2• As per previous practice, half of the passes are given to the organizers and the rest are distributed by the Secretariat staff in the UN lobby on a first come first serve basis. 

As you are aware, the UNPFII is a forum created from Indigenous People's aspirations and very hard work and has been almost 40 years in the making, from the gathering in Geneva, Switzerland of Indigenous leaders of the Western Hemisphere (1977), to the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (1982) and now the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2001) whose name we suggest should be replaced with the title the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous delegates are now, unfortunately being advised to limit their participation in a forum where they feel a great deal of ownership.

The Haudenosaunee have been one of the originators of this international UN process for Indigenous Peoples. From the very beginning of this work we have been clear about our status as sovereign nations. We are not a Confederacy of Non Governmental organizations, we are a Confederacy of nations and conduct ourselves as sovereign nations on a daily basis. We would be happy to pursue this discussion further with you, as well as the current title of the UNPFII on our traditional territories if you are available for such a discussion. 

Indigenous Peoples need to participate in the Permanent Forum fully and effectively to make our voices heard and our issues recognized. Indigenous Peoples must fulfill our responsibility to our respective nations and communities who have each incurred great expense in valuable resources and preparation for this most important meeting.

We note the challenge you are having for obtaining meeting space for such a large gathering. We also note that from the first session of the UNPFII in 2001 to now, the UNPFII has been the  largest attended session of any other United Nations meeting, with close to 2,000 Indigenous Peoples delegates attending each year and currently 460 organizations are  registered for the 11th session promising to be once again fully attended. Indigenous Peoples register to attend the UNPFII each year in good faith with the understanding that their approval to attend by UN authorities assures their admittance. 

This successful forum generates a large attendance from not only Indigenous Peoples but also member nations, UN agencies, inter-govenmental organizations, academics, parliamentarians and human rights experts and others who all wish to participate. We are pleased with their interest in our issues and anticipate their full support.

Before our leaders, Chiefs, Faithkeepers and Clan mothers attend an international meeting full consultation is conducted. There are protocols that must be observed. International meetings are rarely attended by one Haudenosaunee delegate. Our delegations always includes individuals with specific duties and responsibilities to support the work of our leadership. 

We believe that UN member nations would agree that it is difficult to complete this international work without a full delegation present. Therefore, the two options that are being proposed by your honorable office would limit the contributions the Haudenosaunee are able to make each UNPFII session.

A possible consideration would be to have a live feed of all the UNPFII sessions to an adjoining conference room to assure full inclusion of Indigenous delegates. We would also respectfully request the Secretariat to send out your presentations to the members of the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus prior to the caucus meeting so that our limited time together can be allocated for a question and answer format. 

We deeply appreciate your attention to our concerns and comments and request that you forward our communication to you to all the members of the UNPFII. We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.    I can be reached via this sending e-mail address, and also via my cell phone:  (315) 952-2712.


Tadodaho, Sidney Hill
Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) Confederacy
2303 State Route 11A
Lafayette, NY 13084