Monday, May 07, 2012

US should return stolen land to Indian tribes, says United Nations

A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination. James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes. Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and "numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination". "It's a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level," he said. Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education. Close to a million people live on the US's 310 Native American reservations. Some tribes have done well from a boom in casinos on reservations but most have not. Anaya visited an Oglala Sioux reservation where the per capita income is around $7,000 a year, less than one-sixth of the national average, and life expectancy is about 50 years. The two Sioux reservations in South Dakota – Rosebud and Pine Ridge – have some of the country's poorest living conditions, including mass unemployment and the highest suicide rate in the western hemisphere with an epidemic of teenagers killing themselves. Anaya said Rosebud is an example where returning land taken by the US government could improve a tribe's fortunes as well as contribute to a "process of reconciliation". Anaya said he would reserve detailed recommendations on a plan for land restoration until he presents his final report to the UN human rights council in September. Anaya said he had received "exemplary cooperation" from the Obama administration but he declined to speculate on why no members of Congress would meet him...more


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, return all of the land to the Indians and then they can sell them to the lowest bidder.