Applicability of the UD to indigenous peoplesà
It is interesting to note that in the United NationsÆ Declaration of Human Rights, the preamble clearly states: ôWhereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights, and fundamental freedomàö (UD 2) The immediate problem, within the United States, is that for some reason much of this idea of dignity and fundamental freedom does not seem to apply to Native Americans. It is important to identify what many people called ôIndiansö as Native Americans, since they were here long before the pilgrims and the conquistadors arrived on this continent. However, as some of the readings point out, the problem is land. ôLand has always been the issue central to North American politics and economicsà.Within North America, American Indian reservations
àconstitute a small but crucial æpiece of the rockÆö (LaDuke, 1996, p. 147). The interest of the American power elite, therefore, is not in the people now herded onto reservations, but on the valuable minerals, petroleum, and water, that lies beneath their lands.
It seems that the conditions in which the Bureau of Indian Affairs has left the indigenous peoples of North America is a clear violation of the principles enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, simply because these ôrightsö seem to be ignored in favor of mineral and water and gas and oil rights. What is even worse now is that radioactive waste dumping sites are looked at near Indian lands. ôIt seems likely that the damage is done and irreparableàDozens, scores, even hundreds of other examples might be cited from Hopi, from Zuni, Axcoma, Isleta, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and elsewhere in the United States àand from Cree,. Metis, Athabasca and other territories of Canadaö (LaDuke, 1996, p. 174).
While other former colonial p...