A Conference and Consultation with the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, Professor James Anaya
April 26-27 2012
University of Arizona
Statement by Eve Aguirre, TONATIERRA
Good afternoon Special Rapporteur Anaya, representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers,
Neha ne notoca Eve Aguirre, Calpixqui
As Nican Tlacah Indigenous Peoples we are honored to have this opportunity to participate in this first mission by the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples to examine the situation of Indigenous Peoples in the context of law and policies of the USA. We also wish to acknowledge here that as this session is intended to review the situation of Indigenous Peoples against the backdrop of the standards of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is essential that the clarification be forcefully made that the UNDRIP is not a domestic document, but enshrines at the international level of Human Rights law, the fundamental principle that the Right of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples precludes the right of states to take under their own control the designation of cultural or legal identity of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples and their constituencies. Self-definition is the precept of self-determination.
In conformity with your mandate as Special Rapporteur to identify, exchange and promote best practices we respectfully request that you accept the attached documentation and video archive of testimony from the IndigenousPeoples Forum on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery which was conducted at the Arizona State Capitol House of Representative on March 23, 2012.
Hosted by the Native American Caucus of the Arizona State Legislature, and presided by the O’otham Hemujkam, the event was organized by TONATIERRA in complement to the Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. With the intent of presenting to the UN system and the Peoples of the world an example of how the standards articulated in the UNDRIP can be utilized in order to redefine the relationship between the Indigenous Peoples and the states, the Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery here in Arizona was a historic achievement.
We believe that the Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery hosted at the Arizona State Capitol is a glimpse of a new SYSTEMIC STANDARD which points the way towards the redefinition of relationships among states and Indigenous Peoples, in implementation of the standards of the UNDRIP. We hereby respectfully submit the attached report and video documentation of the Arizona forum on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery for consideration at the 11th session of the UNPFII where this subject is a special theme for discussion on the agenda.
Last year, on March 14, 2011 TONATIERRA hosted a Regional Hearing on the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples which was held at the Pueblo Grande Historic Site in Phoenix. With representatives from across North America and Mexico, this first regional hearing was organized to complement the Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery being realized by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
On March 16th, 2012 members of several traditional Indigenous communities of Arizona took part in a three day spiritual run from Tucson to Phoenix which delivered a communiqué to the Arizona Department of Education demanding that the UN Study on the Doctrine of Discovery be integrated into the Social Studies Curriculum standards for implementation across the spectrum of services delivered by the Arizona Department of Education at all levels across the state. As of the date of this conference today under the auspices of the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, TONATIERRA has received response from the office of the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction that this demand is under consideration and review.
The Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on March 23rd was a series of presentations and exchanges among the Indigenous Peoples and their representatives as Nations and Pueblos that lasted three hours on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives. The event was also streamed globally live from the floor of the state capitol complex via Internet and is now an official proceeding to be archived permanently at the Arizona State legislature.
The Indigenous Peoples Forum called for Collective Corrective Actions to be taken at all levels, from the local community to regional territory, from continental to global in order to address the violations of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples which have been perpetrated and continue to damage the Spirit of Humanity under the guise of the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the underlying “Framework of Domination”.
To quote the conference documents:
“We call for this process to continue and prevail in the Spirit of Truth over the distortions of doctrine, not for merely for the purpose of redress of past violations but to actually engage in collective corrective action in order to move forward with Self Determination towards our common destiny as Humanity and in maturity as Children of the Nations and Pueblos of Mother Earth.”
Special Rapporteur Anaya,
The process which is referenced in this statement is the same process which brings us here together today. In moving towards recognition, respect, and protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from local to global scale as they are articulated in the UNDRIP, the initial challenge is to confront the sets of cognition, such as the Doctrine of Discovery, that have perpetuated the deformation of the consciousness of humanity as a whole and justified colonialism against Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth.
In furtherance of this objective of collective corrective action and in light of the Mandate of the Indigenous Peoples as guardians of Mother Earth, we now:
- Affirm the request from the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus 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;
- Submit that the process and content of the Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Doctrine of Discovery of March 23, 2012 held at the Arizona State Capitol be integrated into the discussion on this theme at the 11th Session of the UNPFII, as an example of best practices that reflect implementation strategies of the UNDRIP as systemic standard;
- Request that the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples communicate with the Arizona State Department of Education to inquire regarding the demand by Indigenous Peoples of Arizona to integrate the UNPFII study on the Doctrine of Discovery into the social studies curriculum across all levels of educational services and trainings;
- Recommend that in furtherance of the objectives of the UNPFII study on the Doctrine of Discovery, special attention and support be given to the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on international trade agreements among the states such as NAFTA;
- Advise that in addressing the issues involved in the UNPFII study on the Doctrine of Discovery, that the expertise of the Indigenous Peoples themselves be brought forward appropriately and effectively in regional conferences across Abya Yala [the Americas] and the world such as those which have already occurred in Arizona, and
- Reiterate that this process to must continue and prevail in the Spirit of Truth over the distortions of doctrine, not for merely for the purpose of redress of past violations but to actually engage in collective corrective actions under the guiding standards of the UNDRIP, affirming in all processes and context without exception the fundamental principle that Indigenous Peoples are equal to all other Peoples.