It has been a while since my last newsletter to you. I was in a bad car accident last year, shortly after I sent my last report to you. It took months before I was back to normal. Now I am able to do things again, and need to report on where we are in the International arena.
1. Boulder Meeting
On Sept. 13 & 14, 2017, I attended a meeting at the University of Colorado's School of Law in Boulder where members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) were celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UNPFII held their first meeting at the UN in New York in 2002. I attended many of the meetings over the years only to learn that their mandate was NOT to discuss any treaty or agreement issues between Indigenous nation and the nation-States. Our Treaty enforcement issue is with the United States, which is considered a nation-State at the UN. For the last 149 years, our issue has always been the illegal trespass and occupation by the USA of our Treaty territory. The USA knows this but continues to ignore the issue hoping we will become so assimilated and colonized that we will forget it and accept their illegal occupation.
NOTE: This happened in Scotland last year where a vote was cast, but the majority vote approved the continuation of the illegal occupation by England. Too many young people forgot who they were and wanted to stay with England. We need to consider this as many of our own young people don't know about the Treaty and especially who they are as members of the Oceti Sakowin.
The UN Declaration that the UNPFII and the University of Colorado Law School were celebrating is not the one approved by Indigenous Peoples. Through the book, Indigenous Nations Rights in the Balance, we are continually trying to get the truth out.
Leading up to the signing of this final Declaration in 2007 by the UN General Assembly, I attended and participated in the debates at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. My orders from the previous Spokesperson, Tony Black Feather, were to support the passage of the Original Declaration, which I did, and told the whole story in the book, “Indigenous Nations Rights in the Balance” or INRB. Those of you who received these newsletters at that time in the 2000s, or attended the meetings heard our reports on what was happening.
Thank you to Incomindios from Switzerland, and Sharon Venne, Cree Attorney from Canada, who paid for my trip to Boulder.
As anticipated, the Indigenous speakers on the agenda were also the ones who are very assimilated and colonized, and are looking to the United States to support and enforce the Declaration. They have forgotten they come from nations not yet recognized at the International level, so they bend to the will of the USA. We know the USA will not help us to retain our position as a separate nation but instead will bring more hardships on all of us from the federal government.
We were pushing for the Original Declaration because of Article 36 which would have allowed us the opportunity to have our Treaty issue resolved at the International level as it is an international treaty.
I was interviewed by Popular Resistance from Baltimore, MD, by phone on Monday, Sept. 11th. During the meeting in Boulder on the 13th and 14th , I was also interviewed by two different radio stations: KGNU and The Nation Report.org. I'm letting you know about this part of the trip so if you want to hear what I said, you will, be able to on the Internet. We will also try to get copies for the SNTC website.
On Friday, Sept. 15, Sharon Venne and I gave presentations at the Fourth World Center. She was involved in the first 10 years of making the Original Declaration along with Tony Black Feather and Garfield Grassrope. Later, I came to the debates with Tony when the Original Declaration was pushed off into the debates, and then continued on after he went Home. Our presentations in Denver were videotaped and will be on their website, Fourth World Center.org. Again I will see about getting copies for our website.
The one question at the Boulder meeting that everyone had was: “Is the Declaration working anyplace in the world?” The answer was “No, not that anyone knew.” Native American Rights Fund, along with National Congress of American Indians and the University of Colorado Law School will be trying to get the Declaration working in the United States using the U. S. federal government. The notion of Indigenous nations was not mentioned once.
2. Book – Indigenous Nations Rights in the Balance (INRB)
Approximately 90 of the books were given to participants at the meeting thanks to Ms. Venne and Professor Glenn Morris and his students. In his course at the U of CO in Denver, he will be using my book. It is being used at some other Universities and colleges in Canada and Australia.
Ms. Venne earlier in the year purchased 100 books for the people of Treaty 6 territory in Canada where she works. The Tribal governments here should also purchase books to teach all of our people. There is a lot of history, not to mention legalities and how this new Declaration can be used against us in the book.
If you would like a copy, please let me know and I will get one to you at no cost. Please mention if you would like it signed and the address to mail it. All royalties from the book go to the Treaty Council work. Thank you to all who donate stamps or money for the Treaty work. We also receive the royalties from Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz's book about the Great Sioux Nation to help with the Treaty work. Even mailing this newsletter is expensive because it has to be copied and sent by postal mail to more than 100 people. Sending it this way insures that you all receive the same information.
3. Decolonization List / Committee
In my last report, I said that we needed to approach the UN Decolonization Committee and sent a copy of the letter that was sent to the 192 members of the General Assembly. Approximately 20 letters were returned to me and I sent them on to another address. In all, approximately 10 letters did not reach their destination. No response was received from any of the nation-States. However, I will continue to pursue listing with the Decolonization Committee.
In order to be on the Decolonization List, the General Assembly needs to make the recommendation that is why those letters were sent. So that more nation-States will know of our situation, we have begun approaching the Human Rights Council and other venues such as this meeting in Boulder to keep getting the word out, plus distributing INRB. Perhaps the book also needs to be sent to the General Assembly.
4. 150 Year Memorial
5. SNTC Foundation
The organization, Defenders of the Black Hills, is finishing up a couple of projects and is also the fiscal agent for the Sioux Nation Treaty Council. We need to use a non-profit corporation to handle the funds as the Treaty Council stands for a nation, not an organization or corporation. Should we start a foundation specifically for the work of the Sioux Nation Treaty Council? Please let me know your thoughts on this. In the meantime, Defenders will continue its role as the fiscal agent.
6. Are you Lakota or Tituwan? - Editorial
Enclosed is an editorial I wrote and submitted to a newspaper but it wasn't published. I'm sending it as you might be able to use it some way to educate our own people as to who they really are.
7. Fund Raising through Family Fare stores (formerly Family Thrift Center)
If any of you shop at the new Family Fare stores, would you please send your receipts to me? It is a way of also raising funds for the Treaty Council work. Thank you.
Zumila Wobaga - Charmaine White Face