Sunday, May 8, 2016

Decisions and Recommendations of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) 2016

Decisions and Recommendations of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) to the 15th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and to Other Relevant Bodies and Fora

Organizational Details

The NAIPC meeting took place from March 22-24, 2016 in Treaty 4 Territory. The NAIPC would like to acknowledge and give thanks to the Original Nations and Peoples for hosting this meeting in their territory. The meeting was generously hosted by the Ochapowace Nation in what is now Saskatchewan. Individuals representing Original Nations and Peoples discussed and agreed by consensus on the positions and recommendations contained in this report.

The NAIPC meeting was opened and carried out with traditional ceremonies and protocols. The Drummers offered the opening Prayer Song and Victory Song. Okimaw Iskwew Margaret Bear of the Ochapowace Cree Nation provided the opening address and welcome to the meeting participants.

Preeminent legal scholar, Tamara Starblanket, of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Treaty Six Territory gave a presentation on her ground-breaking legal research on genocide in the context of the colonial experience of the Original Nations and Peoples on Great Turtle Island and the world over. Her research concludes that the state of Canada is culpable for crimes of genocide and that it violates customary laws on genocide.

NAIPC selected Wes George (Ochapowace Cree Nation) and Tamara Starblanket (Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation) to serve as Rapporteurs for the meeting, and Janice Makokis (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) and Debra Harry (Numu-Kooyooe Dukaddo) to serve as NAIPC’s co-chairs for the meeting.

The meeting participants expressed their participation in this meeting as the free and independent Peoples and Nations with the full right of self-determination. We advance the  original  interpretations of our Treaties as intended and agreed to by our ancestors. We are the original Peoples and independent Nations on our Great Turtle Island.

Our deliberations are guided by the ongoing responsibilities and obligations of our original laws and instructions as the Original Nations and Peoples of Great Turtle Island. We uphold the international character and meaning of our Treaties. Our Treaties are for peace and friendship, not cessation, with standing in international law. The claim that we are minorities in our lands and territories must be abolished. The dehumanizing attempts by states to designate our status as minorities implies that we have no claim to our lands.  In international law minorities have no claim to land.

An explanation on our use of terminology is important. We note that Shawnee and Lenape scholar Steven Newcomb accurately explains that the term, Indigenous Peoples, means dominated peoples. This critical distinction is noted and this report clarifies that Indigenous Nations and Peoples means the Original Nations and Peoples of Great Turtle Island, and will use the term interchangeably.

The NAIPC would like to acknowledge and thank the following sponsors for financial and in-kind contributions:
·   Lonesome Prairie Sand &Gravel Ltd.
·   Boudreau Law
·   Peace Hills Trust
·   Phillips & Co.
·   Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN)
·   Ozirny Law Firm

In addition, the NAIPC would like to acknowledge the ceremony keepers, singers, cooks, and community members who all contributed to make the meeting a success. 

The NAIPC participants selected Debra Harry (Numu-Kooyooe Dukaddo) and Tamara Starblanket (Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation) to serve as NAIPC’s co-chairs for the next year.

Agenda item 5:  discussion on the theme - “Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution.”

The NAIPC discussed the theme of the 15th session: “Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution.” One Elder noted that “we cannot have peace and conflict in the same sentence.” Language is critical to the way our Peoples and Nations continue to be dominated and dehumanized by settler state governments. There cannot be peace if oppressive state regimes continue to deny the rights of Original Nations and Peoples. The NAIPC recommends the Permanent Forum include the issue of genocide in this theme. Indigenous Peoples need to be able to utilize the Genocide Convention to address acts of genocide. Genocide is a crime against Nations and Peoples in the colonization process. Our experience with the systematic and widespread colonial invasion constitutes genocide against our Nations. These genocidal laws and policies originate from the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and the illegitimate claiming of our lands and territories. The genocidal projects stem from the dehumanizing belief that we are less than human with words such as pagan, heathen and savage. We reject all colonial frameworks and processes (i.e. reconciliation) utilized to address issues of state genocide.  Language has the ability to snare Indigenous Peoples  into believing that justice has been achieved. The destructive framework embedded in reconciliation is an example of the entrapment that Indigenous Peoples face if we continue to accept colonial processes as the way to achieve peace. The synonym for reconciliation is vanquish or crush. Reconciliation is not a peaceful process. The following list are some examples of the acts of genocide against our peoples that is ongoing in its various forms.

1. The theft of our land and forcible transferring of our children are violations of the treaties.
2.The residential/boarding school system is a decades long process that systemically destroys Nations and Peoples, culture, language and families and communities with serious ongoing traumatic effects.
3. The negatives effects are intergenerational and a continuation of the colonial objective.
4. The traumatic parenting patterns created by the residential school system are the conditions utilized by the state in the child welfare systems to forcibly remove children into present times.
5. The death rates of Indigenous children must be addressed and acknowledged.
6. Ongoing laws and policies of the settler state system must be addressed.

The NAIPC recommends the following:

1.   That the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues decide to identify the theme for a future UNPFII Session “Genocide and its Effects on Indigenous Peoples” in accordance with Article 7 of the UNDRIP. 
2.   That the Doctrine of Discovery be denounced as it is the foundation and genesis of Genocide.
3.   That an expert seminar on genocide and indigenous peoples be identified and held prior to the UNPFII session that is identified for that purpose. 
4.   That the UN Special Advisor on Genocide be invited to attend the proposed UNPFII as a presenter and how his office – program and services have integrated the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document into his scope of work and mandate. 
5.   That the United Nations permanent Forum authorize a study on Genocide and its Effects on Indigenous Peoples at the most immediate opportunity and be presented at the proposed UNPFII Session. 
6.   That the UNPFII develop an appropriate ongoing education program on Genocide and its application and Impacts on Indigenous Peoples for use and utility in a system wide programme of action including at the national level. 
 7.           That Genocide of Indigenous Peoples has occurred and a declaration be issued by the United Nations to recognize and take measures to effectively address and combat by the United Nations.

Item 9: (b) Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

1.  The NAIPC has reviewed the current mandate of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) and does not support the expanded mandate of EMRIP but makes the following recommendations.
2.  In light of the recurring trend of the UN to recognize state recognized organizations to  represent Indigenous Peoples in international meetings, we recommend that the Original Nations and Peoples be given the same authority to speak on behalf of their Nations and Peoples. The NAIPC is concerned about the role state recognized organizations have in representing Indigenous Peoples issues at the United Nations and other international fora.
3.  We recommend that the United Nations create a space within the UN to give Indigenous Peoples and Nations a place to share and express their experiences, issues and concerns about what is taking place in their territories.
4.  We recommend that the UN OHCHR Secretariat insure that Indigenous Peoples have their own Secretariat and to stop trying to merge Indigenous Peoples with minorities.

Agenda Item 4: Implementation of the Six Mandated Areas of the Permanent Forum with Reference to the United Nations Declaration On the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Six (6) mandated areas: Health education, human rights, economic and social development, environment and culture)

The NAIPC discussed the six mandated areas with respect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 


The NAIPC noted the importance of quality and access to healthcare for Indigenous Peoples well- being. For Indigenous Peoples who made treaty with the Crown there was an understanding that there would be full access to healthcare. Indigenous Peoples receive substandard health care, services and quality medicines despite our Indigenous Peoples Rights and Treaty and that a plan of action be identified and developed as a priority to address this state-imposed deficiency. Specific recommendations related to Indigenous health include:

1.   With a view of improving health standards and effectively addressing the issues of health of
2.  Original Nations and Peoples, we recommend to the UNPFII that they initiate a study in North America to examine the health disparities, poor quality of medicines distributed to Indigenous Peoples, inadequate funding given towards Indigenous peoples health and examine how this impacts the quality of healthcare and lack of access to health.
3.    We recommend that the UNPFII gather and compile all data within the UN system related to Indigenous health and prepare a report on these findings.
4.    That our understanding of health and healthcare under the Treaties we made with the Crown be fully enforced and to ensure we have quality access to healthcare.


The NAIPC declared that education is another area of disparity and inequity in funding and requires our immediate attention. Indigenous Peoples are invisible in the education system. There are no supports to succeed in post-secondary education including university and college. There needs to be support to our peoples and nations to develop their own education systems and institutions consistent with their own cultures.  Our education is to be recognized as a lifelong learning process.

1. The UNPFII call on states to address the ongoing inequities in level of funding for on and off reserve children.
2. The UNPFII should take effective measures to advance the UN Study on Indigenous Peoples right to Education


The NAIPC affirm that the Original Nations and Peoples have natural laws and instructions to protect and honour the land. Our natural connection to our lands, waters and territories and in through this sacred relationship we have a responsibility to protect our lands. We have always maintained that we had and continue to have control and jurisdiction over our lands, waters and resources within our territories. We are living through a time where there is destruction occurring on our lands and corporations are entering into our territories unlawfully without our Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Companies are gaining access to our lands, waters and territories through state represented organizations and are side stepping the Original Peoples who hold underlying title and spiritual connection to the lands.  When national and international corporations come onto our territories they  do not adhere to FPIC and ignore the environmental concerns we identify. In light of this, the NAIPC recommends the following:
1. The UNPFII recommends that there be follow up on the special rapporteur study on extractive industries on how FPIC is being enforced and implemented in relation to Indigenous lands and territories.
2. We recommend to other UN bodies like WTO and the human rights commission to monitor  and oversee extractive industry activities and violations of Indigenous rights on Indigenous lands.
3. We recommend that the UNPFII call on the state government to cease criminalization of Indigenous Peoples and Nations who are peacefully exercising their rights and responsibilities to protect our lands, waters and resources.

Agenda Item 3 (C): Follow-up on the recommendations of the Permanent Forum:

The NAIPC reminds this forum that we are the original, free and independent peoples of our lands and territories, and hold a sacred responsibility to protect all life, our knowledge systems, and ways of life within our traditional lands and territories for future generations. We note with concern the negotiations undertaken at WIPO that address genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. Regarding document E/C.19/2016/4, in the “Study on how States exploit weak procedural rules in international organizations to devalue the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international human rights law,” point 43, suggests that Indigenous Peoples should have access to the intellectual property rights system by virtue of the right of self- determination. Certainly Indigenous peoples may currently access the intellectual property regime freely; however, what is lacking is any discussion at WIPO that adequately protects the inherent and prior rights of Indigenous Peoples to keep and protect all aspects of their cultural heritage outside of the intellectual property regime. Since WIPO has failed to ensure the broad-based participation of Indigenous peoples in it’s processes, such discussions which affect the collective rights of Indigenous peoples should be halted and moved to more neutral fora. We recommend the UNPFII include in its study, an exploration of strategies to prevent the negative effect of the intellectual property regime on the collective cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples, and the appropriate alternative fora that will focus on protection strategies from an Indigenous collective rights framework.

Other Items

The NAIPC decided that the following issues are outstanding and must be addressed by the UNPFII:

Treaties agreements and other constructive arrangements

1.  That the United Nations study on treaties agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous populations E/CN.4/Sub.2/1999/20 be reintroduced as outstanding unfinished business of the appropriate United Nations bodies and an action plan to complete the work be developed
2.  That the United Nations study on treatiesagreements and other constructive arrangements between states and indigenous populations is a foundational document that affirms the indigenous peoples opinions concerning Treaties and forms an integral part of international law that must be adhered to by the United Nations
3.  That the United Nations study on treaties agreements and other constructive arrangements has identified and affirmed the original Sovereign Status of indigenous Nations and must be recognized by the United Nations system.
4.  That a UN Study on Border Crossing Rights be authorized by the UNPFII at the most immediate instant.  


1. That the Self-Determination of Indigenous Nations be recognized by the UNPFII and that this critical element be included in a system wide action plan and all relevant bodies.

2. That Article 18 of the UNDRIP recognizes our right to speak for ourselves as sovereign nations (Article 9)

World Court and Access to Justice 

In accordance with international standards including the UNDRIP that a reform of the World Court of Justice occur in the most immediate instant so that justice and equality can be accessed and applied to Indigenous Peoples and their legal issues that that have been subverted and denied in the domestic courts. 

That the NAIPC as a result of not being consulted to gain our consent in accordance with the UNDRIP and in particular Article 18, that the process of selecting and appointing expert members to the UNPFII did not achieve the minimum standards, and the NAIPC decides to not endorse any North American nominee to the Permanent Forum. 

The NAIPC notes with concern that the new accreditation process as identified by the United Nations is destructive and disallows the original Indigenous Nations to speak and present their specific situations for themselves. 

The NAIPC urges that the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues honor and include the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus involvement and right to participate in decision making and accept the 2016 NAIPC Final Report for distribution on the PF website as an information document for the 15th Session.