Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category

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Thursday’s Native News Update with host Paul DeMain is a great recap of this week’s Tribal Nations Conference. If you missed the coverage throughout the summit, this is a great rundown of the happenings there.

DeMain first updates viewers on the announcement that the U.S. will consent to the U.N. Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People, the big news story coming out of the conference.

Then, For the majority of the session, DeMain is joined by Native writer and blogger Mark Trahant.

Trahant has been in D.C. for the summit. Although many working group sessions were closed to the press, Trahant says that the number of cabinet officials in attendance was significant.

“There is no precedent” for that type of well-attended gathering, Trahant said.

An Amazonian Indian woman with a machete during a protest by indigenous people in Altamira, Brazil, in 2008. (AP photo)

Amazonian Indians during a protest by indigenous people in Altamira, Brazil, in 2008. (AP photo)


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Indigenous people around the world suffer so disproportionately from poverty, violence, disease and hunger that, in some cases, their very survival is threatened, according to a new United Nations report, “The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.”

Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing summarizes its findings here:

    In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population;

    In Australia, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-Native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, 13 years in Guatemala, and 11 years in New Zealand;

    In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average;

    Worldwide, more than 50 percent of indigenous adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes – a number predicted to rise.

“We indigenous people say we are not poor, we are impoverished because our access to our land and territories and resources have been curtailed very drastically by states and also corporations, and therefore we’ve become poor,” says Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

“We should not be materially poor, but we are also saying that we are very rich in culture and also in knowledge in terms of how to address the issues of natural resources management.”

The report stresses the crucial nature of indigenous people’s lands to their survival.

Read the report here.

Gwen Florio

CSKT chairman James Steele Jr. is making his address by video this week to the UN World Heritage Committee on behalf of Glacier National Park in Montana and its Canadian counterpart, Waterton Lakes National Park. Together, the two sites are a UN World Heritage Site.

The tribes, along with other groups, fear Canadian coal mining and coalbed methane development proposals bordering Glacier and adjoining Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, threaten the region. The committee meets this week in Spain, and the tribes and other groups hope it will list Glacier-Waterton as endangered – a status granted to only 30 of 880 World Heritage Committee sites.

The tribes’ Flathead Reservation encompasses the southern half of Flathead Lake, where Canadian waters settle after flowing south into Montana.

“We don’t have another homeland,” Steele says on the video. “This is it.” Read more about the plea to the UN here.

Gwen Florio