Exploiting Indians to Seize Land: The Brazilian Government Is Following the Lead of the United Nations and Seizing Lands Purportedly for Indians, but Its Actions Are Suspect-As Are the Obama Administration's

By Newman, Alex | The New American, February 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Exploiting Indians to Seize Land: The Brazilian Government Is Following the Lead of the United Nations and Seizing Lands Purportedly for Indians, but Its Actions Are Suspect-As Are the Obama Administration's


Newman, Alex, The New American


In May of last year. the United Nations 'Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People. James Anaya ended his fact--finding" mission to the United States with a shocking conclusion: Americans should return vast tracts of land to Native Americans, including the iconic Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Such a move, he claimed, would help put the U.S. government closer into compliance with the so--called UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples--a controversial scheme that President Obama endorsed in 2010.

Suspicion, unsurprisingly, ran cam pant because the UN and many of its member regimes are famous br hostility toward private property. They are openly seeking to curtail those rights using a variety of seemingly unrelated mechanisms. Chief among those tools is the drive for so-called "sustainability," which THE NEW AMERICAN magazine has spent considerable space exposing. It now seems, however, that past injustices against Native Americans have been added to the UN toolbox for advancing its controversial anti-property rights agenda.

The UN Declaration

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After decades of negotiations, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted in 2006 by the dictator-dominated UN Human Rights Council " before being sent to the global body's General Assembly, which approved it in 2007. Four national governments--Australia, Canada the United States, and New Zealand--originally opposed the move but it was approved by the vast majority of governments around the world. All four opponents eventually relented. Still, it was hardly uncontroversial.

Article 26 of the document, for example, purports to mandate the recognition and return of indigenous peoples' lands that are now lawfully owned by other citizens. "Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired," the document states, a position that several governments criticized when refusing to support the declaration.

While much of the document is aimed, on the surface at least, at giving indigenous populations full control over their own affairs in most areas (under UN guidance). Article 29 goes on to say that national governments "shall establish and implement" so-called environmental protection and conservation schemes on Indian lands--two key mechanisms exploited by opponents of private property. economic development, and national sovereignty to infringe on individual rights.

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Obama publicly announced that his administration supported the UN declaration at the end of 2010. and with millions of Native Americans living within the United States, analysts say the implications could be far-reaching.

Now, despite the fact that the U.S. Senate never ratified the agreement Obama will apparently seek its implementation. "The United States intends to continue to work so that the laws and mechanisms it has put in place to recognize existing, and accommodate the acquisition of additional, land. territory, and natural resource rights under U.S. law function properly and to facilitate, as appropriate, access by indigenous peoples to the traditional lands, territories and natural resources in which they have an interest," a State Department statement about the UN deal acknowledged.

According to the announcement, the Obama administration had already acquired more than 34,000 acres of land for Indians--a 225 percent increase from 2006. "The Obama Administralion has also made extensive efforts to resolve longstanding Native American legal claims against the United States and private entities related to lands, natural resources.

It's noteworthy that essentially the entire territory of the United States was once occupied by Native Americans. But, for now, the Ohama administration claims that it will "interpret" the UN declaration to mean lands and territory that Indians "currently possess," a position that is at odds with the clear language in the international agreement. …

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Exploiting Indians to Seize Land: The Brazilian Government Is Following the Lead of the United Nations and Seizing Lands Purportedly for Indians, but Its Actions Are Suspect-As Are the Obama Administration's
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