Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ben Carnes: Is Obama's support of Declaration a good thing?

By Ben Carnes
Censored News
While government recognized tribal leaders convened for the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department, supporters for imprisoned activist, Leonard Peltier, stood outside in the snow and cold to remind these leaders to ask Obama to pardon Peltier. Peltier's conviction has been deemed unfair, unjust and an outrage by legal scholars, world spiritual and political leaders. At the opening, Obama announced the US would be endorsing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, belatedly.
I understand there will be those who will greet this action with long awaited joy, while others will view it with heavily guarded suspicion. It must also be understood that as Indigenous Peoples, we are not all the same, some consider themselves American Indians or Native Americans, while others do not subscribe to that notion. What makes a notable difference is that the President and Congress will consult with those it only recognizes as tribal leaders through its laws. The Chiefs, Headsmen, Clan Mothers and Spiritual leaders of the First Nations will not be.
The underlying issue is protecting the integrity of our sovereignty, through upholding treaties and honoring our culture and traditions that forms our worldview.
Last July, I wrote a statement to the State Department concerning the implementation of the Declaration, I got a form response thanking me for my input. Lip service is what it amounted to, however, that is probably more than the people standing outside of this conference will get from Obama. If Obama was truly serious about recognizing Indigenous rights, then he would sign a pardon freeing Peltier from his years of wrongful imprisonment.
My statement is below, and to read more, go to:

1 comment:

Petit fleur said...

When Obama was elected I thought certainly he would be the one to step up and set Leonard free.

I'm still hopeful there is a plan in the works. My understanding is that many times a president will not issue pardons till they are on the way out the door...

I'm still praying for this to happen and for Leonard and his family and friends to keep strong through this insane and arduous fight.