The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It is a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of indigenous peoples of the world. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.
In the International Indian Treaty Council webinar was a stark reminder of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Rochelle Dive (Ojibwe) prompted a conversation upon the following articles that related to ensuring the elimination of impacts of COVID 19 on indigenous communities:
• Article 24: Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to their health practices including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals, and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination to all social and health services.
• Article 25: Indigenous peoples have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realisation of this right. This right should be interpreted through an indigenous lens and not through the lens of states regulatory agencies.
• Article 31: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop cultural heritage and knowledge. As well as expressions, manifestations of sciences, and technologies including medicines, knowledge of fauna and flora. This includes the protection of foods, to be free of genetic modification and chemicals ( toxins and heavy metals).
• Article 43: The rights recognised constituted the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and wellbeing of the indigenous peoples of the world.
The speakers in the webinar were :
Rochelle Diver, Lake Superior Ojibwe, IITC Environmental Health Program Coordinator
Chairman Harold Frazier, Cheyenne River Lakota Nation, South Dakota
Chile Yazzie, President, Shiprock Chapter, Dine (Navajo) Nation, New Mexico
Hinewirangi Kohu – Morgan, Māori, Founder/Director, Te Whānau o te Rau Aroha, Aotearoa
Rosalina Tuyuk, Mayan Cakchiquel, General Coordinator, National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala