Native American testimony at 'Listening Conferences,' ignored in final report of US Periodic Review to UN
By Brenda Norrell
However, it appears that no one was actually listening at the US State Department's Listening Conferences, held to gather testimony for the report from Native Americans.
The US report fails to describe the ongoing environmental genocide, where corporations in collusion with the US government target Indian country with power plants, coal mines, oil and gas wells and experimental technology.
Report of the United States of America
Submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
In Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review
40. Addressing crimes involving violence against women and children on tribal lands is a priority. After extensive consultations with tribal leaders, Attorney General Eric Holder announced significant reform to increase prosecution of crimes committed on tribal lands. He hired more Assistant U.S. Attorneys and more victim-witness specialists. He created a new position, the National Indian Country Training Coordinator, who will work with prosecutors and law enforcement officers in tribal communities. The Attorney General is establishing a Tribal Nations Leadership Council to provide ongoing advice on issues critical to tribal communities.
41. On July 29, 2010, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, requiring the Justice Department to disclose data on cases in Indian Country that it declines to prosecute and granting tribes greater authority to prosecute and punish criminals. The Act also expands support for Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal officers. It includes new provisions to prevent counterfeiting of Indian-produced crafts and new guidelines and training for domestic violence and sex crimes, and it strengthens tribal courts and police departments and enhances programs to combat drug and alcohol abuse and help at-risk youth. These are significant measures that will empower tribal governments and make a difference in people's lives.
The US report fails to address the widespread abuses by the US Border Patrol of Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own territories, or the violations of NAGPRA and other federal laws during construction of the US/Mexico border wall. This included Boeing digging up the ancestors of the O'odham.
There is no mention of the abuse of Haudenosaunee and others on the northern border by border agents. The US fails to describe the racial profiling that has become acceptable for police and border agents in the US.
The US does not address the violations of fishing and hunting rights of Native Americans in violations of Treaties.
The report fails to describe the targeting of American Indians by police during traffic stops, the longer prison sentences issued by courts for American Indians or the ongoing hate crimes in Indian country bordertowns. It fails to reveal the extent of the denial of rights for American Indian religious freedom in US prisons.
Statement by Russell Means, Republic of Lakotah
on the Occasion of the United States State Department “Listening Session” in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 16 March 2010
As we can see, many indigenous people have been duped to participate, yet again, in a lying and duplicitous process of the United States. The United States has absolutely no interest or intention of admitting to the world its human rights record that is neither justifiable nor defensible. In particular, the record of the United States with regard to historical, and ongoing, violations of over 370 treaties that were negotiated and signed with indigenous nations must be, but will not be, addressed by the United States. Instead, as is its ongoing practice, the United States will use this session, and the one tomorrow on the territory of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, as its justification that indigenous peoples were “consulted,” and “listened to,” while the U.S. simultaneously lies to the world about its disgraceful human rights record.
In other words, an analysis of the US government's troubled trust relationship with America's Indian nations should be the subject of Chapter 1. Talk about what Obama recognizes, emphasizes, or supports should be in Chapter 5 or 10--i.e., in the back of the report. Tough talk about actual problems should come first and pie-in-the sky hopes should come last.
For more on the subject, see Obama Refuses to Use G-Word, Where Are Obama's Cabinet Reports?, and Obama's Invisible Apology.