At UN, Oglala Lakota Says US Defies International Law to Steal Land, Water and Billions in Resources
During Agenda Item 3 – Principles of Good Governance Consistent with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Articles 3, 6 and 46, of the 13th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Dr. Richard L. Zephier, spoke on behalf of Bryan V. Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, occupied Lakota Territory. Below is his full presentation of the Intervention of the Oglala Lakota Nation.
The Oglala Lakota Nation welcomes the opportunity to discuss “Principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: especially Articles 3, 6 and 46.” Under this item, in order to discuss practices of good governance, it is also helpful to discuss practices of bad governance – examples of what states should refrain from doing.
I speak today as the representative of the elected government in our colonially-occupied homeland. Although we are the elected government, we reject the label that is often attached to us by the government of the United States, as the “legitimate” Lakota government. We recognize and respect that we had and exercised political independence and self-determination long before there was a United States or a Canada or a Brazil or a Mexico. Our traditional form of governance was deliberately attacked and impaired through the operation of colonial domination.
Today, despite the fact that we are the entity that attempts to provide the daily necessities of life for our people – to maintain roads and schools and health facilities, we recognize, respect, and extend our hand to all Lakotas – traditional councils, grassroots organizations, and all Lakotas who strive to be free, self-sustaining, and independent people. As Lakotas, we stand on common ground, in defense of our right to self-determination, our right to have our treaties honored and respected as binding international instruments, and for the return of our homelands – especially our most sacred area – the He Sapa (Black Hills). We stand together in the defense of our homeland by predatory corporations and governments, and against destructive and illegal projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.
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