5/24/2012 Rolanda Tohannie to James Anaya for the OFFICIAL RECORD 1“>5/24/2012 Rolanda Tohannie to Mr. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indgenous Peoples, UN OHCHR: Living in the former Bennett Freeze & drinking uranium and arsenic contaminated water in Box Springs (Navajo Nation), AZ
5/24/2011 Rolanda Tohannie to Mr. James Anaya: Living in the former Bennett Freeze & drinking contaminated water
5/4/2012 Washington Post: UN fact finder on indigenous rights to recommend land restoration for some Native Americans
5/4/2012 Washington Post: UN fact finder on indigenous rights to recommend land restoration for some Native Americans by Associated Press: WASHINGTON — A United Nations fact finder surveying the lives of Native Americans and Alaska Natives said Friday he’ll recommend in an upcoming report that some of the tribes’ lands be restored, including the Black Hills of South Dakota. James Anaya, a U.N. special rapporteur, has been meeting with tribal leaders, the administration and Senate members over 12 days to assess U.S. implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He plans several suggestions in his report, which he said he likely will deliver to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in September.
Anaya said land restoration would help bring about reconciliation. He named the Black Hills as an example. He said restoring to indigenous people what they have a legitimate claim to can be done in a way that is not divisive “so that the Black Hills, for example, isn’t just a reminder of the subordination and domination of indigenous peoples in that country.”
The Black Hills, home to Mount Rushmore, are public land but are considered sacred by the Sioux tribes. The Sioux have refused to accept money awarded in a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision and have sought return of the land. The Black Hills and other lands were set aside for the Sioux in an 1868 treaty. But Congress passed a law in 1877 taking the land.
President Barack Obama endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010, reversing a previous U.S. vote against it. It is intended to protect the rights of 370 million native peoples worldwide. Anaya is the first U.N. special rapporteur on rights of the indigenous to visit the U.S.
He met with several members of the executive branch and had the chance to brief members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He lamented he was unable to get individual meetings with members of Congress, noting that he usually meets with members of legislative bodies of countries he is visiting.
Anaya said he heard universal cries from the Native Americans and Alaska Natives for the federal government to protect their tribal sovereignty and for more ability to control their own affairs.
He added provisions in the Violence Against Women Act, recently approved in the Senate, give tribes the ability to prosecute people who commit violent crimes against Native American or Alaska Native women, even if they are not native peoples. That provision has been opposed by some Republicans in Congress. The House is expected to move on the act as soon as next week, with Republicans possibly drafting and pushing their own version.
Anaya said he met with tribes in Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Washington State, South Dakota and Oklahoma both on reservations and in urban areas.
“In all my consultations with indigenous peoples in the places I visited it was impressed upon me that the sense of loss, alienation and indignity is pervasive throughout Indian Country,” Anaya said.
“It is evident that there have still not been adequate measures of reconciliation to overcome the persistent legacies of the history of oppression and that there is still much healing that needs to be done,” he said.
Online: USNR James Anaya: http://www.unsr.jamesanaya.org
5/4/2012 Yahoo News: U.S. must heal native peoples’ wounds, return landsUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States must do more to heal the wounds of indigenous peoples caused by more than a century of oppression, including restoring control over lands Native Americans consider to be sacred, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Friday.
James Anaya, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, just completed a 12-day visit to the United States where he met with representatives of indigenous peoples in the District of Columbia, Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Washington State, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. He also met with U.S. government officials.
“I have heard stories that make evident the profound hurt that indigenous peoples continue to feel because of the history of oppression they have faced,” Anaya said in a statement issued by the U.N. human rights office in Geneva.
That oppression, he said, has included the seizure of lands and resources, the removal of children from their families and communities, the loss of languages, violation of treaties, and brutality, all grounded in racial discrimination.
Anaya welcomed the U.S. decision to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010 and other steps the government has taken, but said more was needed. His findings will be included in a final report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council. While not binding, the recommendations carry moral weight that can influence governments.
“It is clear that this history does not just blemish the past, but translates into present day disadvantage for indigenous peoples in the country,” Anaya said.
“There have still not been adequate measures of reconciliation to overcome the persistent legacies of the history of oppression, and that there is still much healing that needs to be done,” he said.
In Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, where some Native Americans depend on hunting and fishing, Anaya said tribes face “ever-greater threats … due to a growing surge of competing interests, and in some cases incompatible extractive activities, over these lands and resources.”
“In Alaska, indigenous peoples complain about a complex and overly restrictive state regulatory apparatus that impedes their access to subsistence resources (fish and wildlife),” he said.
Mining for natural resources in parts of the country has also caused serious problems for indigenous peoples.
“Past uncontrolled and irresponsible extractive activities, including uranium mining in the Southwest, have resulted in the contamination of indigenous peoples’ water sources and other resources, and in numerous documented negative health effects among Native Americans,” he said.
He said indigenous peoples feel they have too little control over geographic regions considered sacred to them, like the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Anaya suggested such lands should be returned to Native peoples.
“Securing the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands is of central importance to indigenous peoples’ socioeconomic development, self-determination, and cultural integrity,” Anaya said.
“Continued efforts to resolve, clarify, and strengthen the protection of indigenous lands, resources, and sacred sites should be made,” he added.
Mount Rushmore, a popular tourist attraction, is located in the Black Hills, which the Sioux tribe consider to be sacred and have territorial claims to based on an 1868 treaty. Shortly after that treaty was signed, gold was discovered in the region. U.S. Congress eventually passed a law taking over the land.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the seizure of the land was illegal and ordered the government to pay compensation. But the Sioux rejected the money and has continued to demand the return of the now public lands.
Anaya said he will make specific recommendations on these and other issues in a full report later this year.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
9/22/2011 Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources: International: Extraction Of Natural Resources A Key Cause Of Abuse Of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights – UN Expert
9/22/2011 Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources: International: Extraction Of Natural Resources A Key Cause Of Abuse Of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights – UN Expert: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, warned Wednesday that indigenous communities’ right to self-determination in the political, social and economic spheres is being threatened by the current model for advancing with natural resource extraction. “Natural resource extraction and other major development projects in or near indigenous territories are one of the most significant sources of abuse of the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide,” said Mr. Anaya in his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council.
In it, the expert assessed the response to a questionnaire on the issue he sent out earlier this year to Governments, indigenous peoples and organizations, business corporations and other actors.
“The results show a lack of understanding of basic minimum standards on the impact of extractive industries affecting indigenous peoples and about the role and responsibility of the State to ensure protection of their rights,” he said at a press conference in Geneva, “despite of a shared awareness and concern about the past negative effects of extractive operations for indigenous peoples in many situations.”
“The gradual loss of control over indigenous lands, territories and natural resources was listed by respondents as a key concern (…) With respect to the negative impact of extractive operations on water resources, it was noted that water resource depletion and contamination has had harmful effects on available water for drinking, farming and grazing cattle, and has affected traditional fishing and other activities, particularly in fragile natural habitats.”
Social and cultural effects
“A second major issue cited by questionnaire respondents focused on the adverse impact of extractive industry operations on indigenous peoples’ social structures and cultures, particularly when those operations result in the loss of lands and natural resources upon which indigenous communities have traditionally relied. In such cases, resource extraction can jeopardize the survival of indigenous groups as distinct cultures that are inextricably connected to the territories they have traditionally inhabited.”
Lack of consultation and participation
“Indigenous peoples, Governments and companies noted that affected indigenous peoples needed to be consulted about and be involved in the operation of natural resource extraction projects that affect them. This need was identified, depending on the identity of the respondent, as both a right affirmed in international and domestic law and a matter of pragmatism: a preventative measure to avoid project opposition and social conflicts that could result in the disruption of project operations.”
Lack of clear regulatory frameworks
“Representatives of business enterprises reported that deficient domestic regulatory frameworks create barriers to carrying out their operations in a way that respects indigenous peoples’ rights and interests. Several businesses contended that this lack of clarity constituted a major obstacle to their ability to undertake their operations in a manner consistent with international expectations regarding the rights of indigenous peoples. In turn, this lack of legal certainty is perceived by corporate actors as a cause of costly conflicts with local indigenous communities.”
The question of tangible benefits
“Contrasting perspectives exist with regard to the benefits of extractive operations. Various Governments and companies identified benefits to indigenous peoples resulting from natural resource extraction projects, while, in general, indigenous peoples and organizations reported that benefits were limited in scope and did not make up for the problems associated with these projects.”