TITLE: Supporting United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/2: Outcome Document of the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly Known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and Calling on the UN, Member States, and Indigenous Governments to Implement Decisions Therein
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations (UN) adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007; and
WHEREAS, the United States of America endorsed the UNDRIP in 2010; and
WHEREAS, NCAI has been actively involved in the drafting and implementing process of the UNDRIP since at least 1999; and
WHEREAS, the UNDRIP is an historic statement of rights intended to guard against the genocide, the theft of lands and resources, the discrimination, and the political exclusion that Indian nations and many other indigenous peoples have suffered – and too often continue to suffer today; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with A/RES/65/198 and A/RES/66/296, the UN General Assembly, on September 22-23, 2014 convened a high-level plenary meeting known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that resulted in an Outcome Document setting forth a number of concrete actions to be taken by the UN and Member States to implement the UNDRIP; and
WHEREAS, the UNDRIP will not achieve its purposes without concrete actions on the part of the UN including lasting, effective institutions to monitor and encourage compliance with and implementation of the rights in the Declaration; and
WHEREAS, the best way to implement the Declaration and safeguard indigenous rights is for indigenous nations and peoples, represented by their own governments, to be able to participate fully and permanently in the work of the UN; and
WHEREAS, NCAI joined with a large group of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and inter-tribal associations to successfully advocate for inclusion of four priorities in the Outcome Document that 1) promote implementation of the Declaration; 2) establish status for Indigenous governments at the UN; 3) prevent violence against Indigenous women and children; and 4) protect sacred places and objects; and
WHEREAS, the Outcome Document creates critical pathways for implementation of the UNDRIP that must be seized upon to achieve full implementation and realization of the principles, rights, and protections provided for in the UNDRIP.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI congratulates those Indigenous governments and peoples and UN member states who worked together to develop a concrete, action-oriented Outcome Document formally adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly as A/RES/69/2; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls on the UN to move swiftly, in close cooperation with Indigenous governments and peoples, to see that the historic commitments made at this World Conference are brought to reality as soon as possible, bearing in mind the short time-frame for action provided by the Outcome Document; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI encourages Indigenous governments and peoples to take their rightful place as a part of the international community and to coordinate with the Secretary-General, the Inter-Agency Support Group, and member states as they work to develop recommendations regarding (i) how to use, modify, and improve existing UN mechanisms to achieve the ends of the UNDRIP; and (ii) options to enable the participation of Indigenous governments and peoples on a regular and permanent basis in the UN consistent with the right of self-determination held by indigenous peoples as recognized and affirmed by the UNDRIP; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI encourages Indigenous governments and Native women’s advocates to coordinate with member states and the UN Human Rights Council to consider examining the causes and consequences of violence against indigenous women and girls, and with member states and the UN Commission on the Status of Women to consider the issue of empowerment of indigenous women at its future session; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls upon the President of the United States to direct federal agencies by executive order to comply with the UNDRIP.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.