Collective statement on Unrecognized and Unrepresented Peoples
Reading: Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco, Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Dear Madame Chair, Permanent Forum Members, Member States, UN Agencies and Indigenous brothers and sisters :
For hundreds of years, Indigenous peoples have struggled to resist and survive the affects of colonial legal domination and conquest, which in certain locations this created a legal divide between recognized and “unrecognized” indigenous peoples and in others it has completely denied their existence through an “unrepresented” status. This assembly applies to multiple historical tribes and indigenous peoples
worldwide; it is no coincidence that many of us sit on prime land and natural resources historically desired by governments and corporations for profit and expansionist agendas. Many more have been forcefully relocated, removed and/or pushed into Diaspora across hemispheres, creating global migrations
and displacement of indigenous peoples. This matter affects indigenous peoples in every continent. The effects are profound and require the attention of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the international community.
This collective statement is the product of a first and historic side-event held on May 18, 2009, during the Permanent Forum. The panel brought together Indigenous Women leaders from around the world, North America, South America, the Pacific, South-East Asia, and Africa, to begin identifying the common conditions that this colonial legal atrocity has produced in the lives of indigenous peoples, and in
particular indigenous women and children. The panel discussed some of the common issues affecting historical tribes, migrant indigenous women and their children born and raised outside of their territories, pastoral indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, indigenous peoples with recent
or no contact—all which are currently struggling with discrimination under the rule of law as unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.
Noting that all peoples should have the human right to be free from discrimination, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples currently do not have equal rights and protections to land, water, culture, identity, and child welfare protection as recognized indigenous peoples.
Noting that unrepresented and unrecognized tribes have less than equal rights to fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples are more vulnerable to discrimination, especially in exercising their right to land use, practice and preservation of culture, and in turn contributes to the cultural genocide
of these peoples.
Acknowledging the importance of the right to equal and fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples can not engage the state in legal address to their specific needs specifically related to land, natural resources, cultural custodialship, and their economic sustainabilities.
Further noting that unrepresented and unrecognized Indigenous women experience greater levels of discrimination due to the compound affect of ethnicity, gender, class, language, and, in particular, non-represented and unrecognized status.
Recognizing that the unrepresented and unrecognized status is a discriminatory status which denies the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People…
We submit the following recommendations to the UN Permanent Forum:
1. We strongly recommend to the UNPFII the inclusion of an item on unrepresented and
unrecognized indigenous peoples in its 2010 agenda.
2. We urge the UNPF to create a Task Force on unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, to include direct consultation with unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.
3. We request of the PF to appoint or designate a rapporteur to undertake a study on the conditions of unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, including but not limited to migrant peoples and their families born outside of their traditional territories.
We draw the attention of the UNPF, relevant UN Agencies and Member-states to the following matters:
1. We draw attention to the United States governments continuing efforts to suppress the rights of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in California who are defending their historical territories, watersheds and the survival of their cultural
Government’s discriminatory statutes and practices which deny the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
2. We draw attention to the PF the case of Flor Crisostomo (see La Red Xicana Indigena statement on Urban and Migrant Indigenous Issues 2007), the face of migrant indigenous women in the US, Flor is in sanctuary in Chicago, Illinois resisting her order of deportation and is confronting the risk of federal charges with no legal recourse by either Mexico or the US for the effects of
displacement due to Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA).
3. We draw special attention to the present conditions of the Alifuru women and youth, see GIWC Statement on Human Rights 2008, who were incarcerated by the Indonesian government and prosecuted with charges of treason for possessing traditional fabric and presenting their traditional dances publicly. We urge the UNPF, Council on Human Rights, and the Special Rapporteur to report on the human rights violation of the Alifuru people.
4. We draw attention to the conditions of La Cuenca Amazonia (COICA) and encourage the PF to urge UN Agencies and Bolivia to promote the preservation of their right to self determination and territory, in order to secure their good health, education and livelihood.
5. We draw attention to the PF the excessive militarization due to the construction of the US-Mexico wall which is restricting the access to traditional foods, ceremonial sites, and are contaminating the water and riverbanks on the territory of the Lipan-Apache divided by US-Mexico border.
Signatories as of 5.20.2009:
La Red Xicana Indigena, Member ENLACE-North (Continental Network Indigenous Women)
Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Na Koa Ikaika Ka Lahui Hawaii
The Indigenous Worlds Association
Bansa Adat Alifuru
Touaregh Tribal People (Niger)
Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA)
California Indian Heritage Council
Lipan Apache Women’s Defense
Lipan Apache Band of Texas
Centro Sin Fronteras, Chicago, Ill
International Forum of Indigenous Women’s (FIMI)
Comisión de Instrumentos Internacionales,
ENLACE Continental de Mujeres Indígenas