Obama adopts U.N. manifesto on indigenous peoples
President Obama announced Dec. 16 that the U.S. would reverse the position of the Bush administration and become the last nation to drop its opposition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Mr. Obama made the announcement to enthusiastic applause at the second White House Tribal Nations Conference, a gathering attended by representatives of the nation’s 565 recognized American Indian tribes.
“The aspirations it affirms — including respect for the institutions and rich cultures of native peoples — are ones we must always seek to fulfill,” Mr. Obama said at the conference, held at the Interior Department. “But I want to be clear: What matters far more than words — what matters far more than any resolution or declaration — are actions to match those words. And that’s what this conference is about.”
The nonbinding declaration recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, as well as their institutions, cultures and traditions, and prohibits discrimination against
John R. Bolton, a U.N. ambassador under President George W. Bush, called the announcement “exactly the kind of mushy, feel-good multilateralist gesture one would expect from President Obama.”
Make for a good photo-op? World War II-era Navajo Code Talkers listen to President Obama speak Dec. 16 at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, which was attended by representatives of the nation’s 565 recognized American Indian tribes.