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James (Sa'ke'j) Youngblood Henderson
240 pages, index, paper, 6 x 9, fall 2008
Despite centuries of sustained attacks against their collective existence, Indigenous peoples represent over 5,000 languages and cultures in more than 70 nations on six continents. Most have retained social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics distinct from other segments of national populations. Yet recognition of their humanity and rights has been a struggle to achieve.
Based on personal experience, James (Sa’ke’j) Youngblood Henderson documents the generation-long struggle that led ultimately to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly. Henderson puts the Declaration and the struggles of Indigenous peoples in a wider context, outlining the rise of international law and how it was shaped by European ideas, the rise of the United Nations, and post-World War II agreements focusing on human rights.
Henderson analyzes the provisions of the Declaration and comments on the impact of other international agreements on Indigenous peoples. He concludes with his view of what must be done to give the Declaration its full force for Indigenous peoples around the world, and what it means for Canada. The full text of the Declaration and selected excerpts of other key international agreements are included.
James (Sa'ke'j) Youngblood Henderson Biography
Henderson is an internationally and national recognized authority in Indigenous knowledge, heritage, and jurisprudence, constitutional rights, and human rights. He is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is the research director of the Native Law Centre of Canada and teaches Aboriginal law at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. He is the author of numerous books, including Mi’kmaq Concordat; Aboriginal Tenure in the Constitution of Canada; First Nation Jurisprudences and Aboriginal Rights; Treaty Rights in the Constitution of Canada, and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage and has contributed to many other books and journals. He was one of the strategists that created Indigenous diplomacy, working through the Four Direction Council, an NGO, in the UN system and part of the drafting team of many of the existing documents, especially, ILO Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (1991), Guidelines and Principles for the Protection of Indigenous Heritage (1994-2001), and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). He has been an Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2003-1997) and the UNESCO Convention of Cultural Diversity. Since 2000, he has been a member of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO. His achievements in international and national law have been recognized by being awarded Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel (2005), the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law and Justice (2006), and a Honourary Doctorate of Laws, Carlton University (2007).
Table of Contents
1/ The Legacy of Empire
2/ The Failure of Decolonization for the Indigenous Others
3/ The Convergence of Indigenous Diplomacy
4/ Communications with the UN Human Rights Committee
5/ The UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations
6/ Indigenous Diplomacy in other International Forums
7/ The Indigenous Declaration in the Governments' Working Group
8/ The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
9/ Implementation Quandaries
10/ Being a Self-Determining Human
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
Draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1994-95)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
International Labour Organisation Convention concerning Indigenous
and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO No. 169) (1989)
UN Convention on Biological Diversity, including the Rio Declaration on the Environment (1982)
UNESCO Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge (1999)
Draft Principles and Guidelines for the protection of the Heritage of Indigenous People (2000)
World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Program of Action (2001)