Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recommendation: Study on International Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples

Grand Chief Ed John
U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Dear Ed,

We are in receipt of E/C.19/2012/L.2 regarding Agenda Item 3 containing the draft Recomendations of the PFII.

We refer specifically to paragraphs 1-8 which deal which the issue of the Doctrine of Discovery.

It is gratifying to see that many of the concerns expressed by speakers at this eleventh session of the PFII in regard to the ongoing deleterious and destructive effects of the Doctrine are reflected in the recommendations.

However, we note in paragraph 6 the call for States to include information on the Doctrine of Discovery in all educational curricula and in particular the school system. Without a meaningful framework, good curricular materials cannot be developed, especially materials that are appropriate in different parts of the world and in diverse educational contexts. We respectfully submit that the first step must be to conduct an international study of the ongoing effects of the Doctrine of Discovery. An international study will provide a useful framework that can be translated into curricular materials. The complex, unexplored institutional and human consequences of the application of the Doctrine warrant the call for such a study.

Therefore, as recommended by Experts on the Panel, the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus, the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus, the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus and other interested parties, we respectfully request that the following recommendation be included in the Report on Agenda Item 3:

  • Recommendation: The Permanent Forum should put into effect a study conducted by a body of recognized experts in the field, nominated by the Permanent Forum, on the international impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on indigenous peoples. The results of this study should be presented as a report to the 13th session of the PFII in 2014.

This recommendation flows from the text of paragraph 2 as it appears in the current draft and can be added to the paragraph without further revision.

Respectfully submitted,

Tonya Gonnella Frichner, American Indian Law Alliance
Chief Oren Lyons, Haudenosaunee
Steve Newcomb, Indigenous Law Institute

Cc: North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus
Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus
Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus
Global Indigenous Youth Caucus