Indigenous Peoples, Constitutional States and Treaties or Other Constructive Arrangements between Indigenous Peoples and States

By René Kuppe; Richard Potz | Go to book overview

Appendix 1:
CONCLUSIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL
SEMINAR ON ‘INDIGENOUS PEOPLES,
CONSTITUTIONAL STATES, AND TREATIES OR
OTHER CONSTRUCTIVE ARRANGEMENTS
BETWEEN PEOPLES AND STATES’.

Andalucía International University, Seville. September 10-14, 2001.

UN Doc E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/2002/WP.9/En.

1. The ‘Study on Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements between the State and Indigenous Populations’ submitted by the Special Rapporteur Miguel Alfonso Martinez at the request of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Final Report: E/CN.4/Sub.2/19999/20) constitutes an advance towards the recognition and the exercise of the rights of indigenous peoples. In this document, the Special Rapporteur outlines how these human groups live in conditions that have constantly led to the deprivation, reduction or limitation of their territories, resources and powers, not only as result of colonial policies applied by European States, but also by their successors, more prominently so by those in the American continent, which govern from Alaska to Patagonia.

2. The re-evaluation of past treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements should not be undertaken in purely historical terms, or exclusively according to the colonial reading of such instruments. Their intrinsically plural nature should be recovered with a view to revalidate them as instruments that may suitably address issues of cultural balance, constitutional accommodation and jurisdictional remedy. Recent developments of the Tribunal of Waitangi/Te Ropu Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi en Aotearoa/New Zealand offers a good example in this respect.

3. The difference between a purely historical interpretation and a contemporary revalidation of treaties and other constructive arrangements should be overcome by means of a re-balancing of their biased reading. Their present day understanding must integrate (and even privilege) the indigenous wording, which has suffered colonial denial, as well as from the breach and cancellation of the initial spirit of the agreements, which was based on principles of accommodation, exchange and cohabitation. Only on these bases will the universal human entitlements to refuse

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