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Four Winds Weavers - Press Center


Historic Milestone for Indigenous Peoples Worldwide as UN Adopts Rights

New York, 13 September – Marking an historic achievement for the more
than 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide, the General Assembly
today adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the
result of more than two decades of consultation and dialogue among
governments and indigenous peoples from all regions.

“Today, by adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
we are making further progress to improve the situation of indigenous
peoples around the world,” stated General Assembly President Haya Al

“We are also taking another major step forward towards the promotion and
protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warmly welcomed the adoption, calling it
“a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world.”

He further noted that “this marks a historic moment when UN Member
States and indigenous peoples reconciled with their painful histories
and resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights,
justice and development for all.”

Adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2006, the Declaration
emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen
their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their
development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations. It
establishes an important standard for eliminating human rights
violations against indigenous peoples worldwide and for combating
discrimination and marginalization.

“The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human
rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the
United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples,
reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the
future on the path of human rights,” said Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz,
Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights,
cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment,
language and others. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious
and cooperative relations between States and Indigenous Peoples. It
prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their
full and effective participation in all matters that concern them.

Calling the Declaration “tangible proof of the increasing cooperation of
States, Indigenous Peoples and the international community as a whole
for the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous
peoples”, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr.
Sha Zukang said that the UN “has fulfilled its role as the world’s
parliament and has responded to the trust that Indigenous Peoples around
the world placed in it, that it will stand for dignity and justice,
development and peace for all, without discrimination.”

The Declaration was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the General
Assembly, with 143 countries voting in support, 4 voting against
(Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstaining
(Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya,
Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, Ukraine).

To view a webcast of the General Assembly session, see:

For more information on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, please see:



This is forwarded email - Corbin Harney also contributed to the Prayer Vigil - ________________________________________________________________

R.I.P. Corbin Harney
He was a kind, generous, and insightful American Indian spiritual and political leader, a member of the Western Shoshone Nation. His passing is a loss to all who now dwell on Turtle Island ( North America )http://www.shundahai.org/index.html#statement

From a statement by his family:

July 10, 2007 (TurtleIsland). Corbin Harney Spiritual Leader of the Western Shoshone Nation crossed over at 11:00 a.m. this morning in a house on a sacred mountain near Santa Rosa , CA ( Turtle Island ). He had dedicated his life to fighting the nuclear testing and dumping.

That battle claimed his life through cancer.

Before he passed, he said to remember: “We are one people. We cannot separate ourselves now.”

According to witnesses present, in the morning fog, the spirits of four Shoshoni dog soldiers were outside on horseback before Corbin’s passing. But then one of the Shoshone present, Santiago Lozada, yelled “Tosawi Tosawi!” (White Knife). And then the fog shifted and there were thousands of spirits waiting.

Corbin passed peacefully at the end. He was only worried that he still had more to do. When he finally let go and went with the dog soldiers, Red Wolf Pope, grandson of Rolling Thunder, was present and sang him the Tosawi death song to call the dog soldiers to come take him home. Golden eagles continue to circle the house hours after his crossing.”

... Corbin also authored two books: “The Way It Is: One Water, One Air, One Earth” (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1995) and a forthcoming book, “The Nature Way”. Numerous documentaries have been made about his work and message. I

Corbin Harney is descended from generations of Newe (Shoshone) traditional healers and was always grateful for the many extraordinary teachers who shared their knowledge in his lifetime.

R.I.P. Grandfather Corbin