Gila River Pima-Maricopa Nation in Arizona is first Indian Nation in US to ratify the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
From: Shannon Rivers
Friends & Relatives
On Wednesday the 21st of May in a precedent setting, hallmark move of commitment and solidarity with Indigenous Peoples worldwide, the Gila River Indian Community Council passed Resolution GR-126-08 which ratifies the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Thus making the Gila River Indian Community the first federally recognized tribal nation within the United States to embrace, support and ratify the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A culmination of community events executed by various members over the years has led up to this celebratory day; for example, last year, in 2007, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community passed a similar Resolution, Res. SR-2550-2007 which proclaimed March 12 as Indigenous Peoples day affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recently adopted by the United Nation Human Rights Council. This could not have happened with out the hard work, fortitude and dedication by grass roots organizations, local activist, the extraordinary vision of Lt. Governor Jennifer Allison-Ray of the Gila River Indian Community, President Ms. Diane Enos of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and both tribal councils.
Moreover, this past March, in 2008, tribal leaders, local and national activist, Arizona tribal education specialists and other members as well as members of the Arizona State Senate gathered for the day-long "Indigenous Peoples Consultation" in which Ms. Tonya Gonella Frichner, the newly elected North American Representative of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, spoke on the importance and impact of the United Nations Declaration has had throughout all Indigenous communities worldwide, and further demonstrated the necessity for supporting the fundamental human rights of all Indigenous peoples as defined and encompassed within the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Regionally, certain community members have been diligently working behind the scenes to assist in educating its neighboring relatives, and by the Gila River Indian Community adopting the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is concurrently affirming its inherent right to self-determination and standing in solidarity with the Pee-Posh, Salt River, Thono O'otham, Ak-Chin and O'othams relatives located south of the United States-Mexico Border.
The United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples consist of 46 articles and was passed by the United Nations General Assembly, last year, on September 13th 2007. 143 member-states voted in favor of the declaration and 4 member-states voted against it, the United States being one of those four. Though not legally binding Indigenous peoples hope that all United Nations member-states will partially or within its entirety endorse every article stated within the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as customary international law.
In conclusion, the Gila River Indian Community is moving forward by adopting and ratifying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, so it is my desire that all 46 articles will become permanent and customary law with the hope and open invitation that other first nations will follow.
"Thom e nyei"Shannon RiversAkimel O'otham-Gila River
Special thanks to:Tupac Enrique - Tonatierra: Rep Albert Tom - Arizona House of Representatives: Lt. Governor Jennifer Allison-Ray-Gila River Indian Community: President Diane Enos-SRPMIC: Honorable Preamble Chief Oren Lyons & Tonya Gonella Frichner of the Onondaga Nation
To obtain a copy of the UN-Declaration or to learn more about the UNPFII and this years special theme on "Climate Change, bio-diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of Indigenous Peoples and new challenges visit www.un.org/esa/socdev/pfii
To contact Shannon Rivers email: firstname.lastname@example.org