Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic April 17, 2018 - 1:30 pm

UN Indigenous forum needs a new name, says Bolivia’s president

Evo Morales wants to dump the word "issues" in favour of "peoples" or "rights"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa participates in an April 17 discussion on the theme of Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and natural resources at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GOV. OF CANADA)
Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa participates in an April 17 discussion on the theme of Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and natural resources at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GOV. OF CANADA)
Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa sits April 16 on the floor of the general assembly of the UN where he is a member of the official Canadian delegation to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. As a member of the official delegation, he will be able to participate in the Canadian government's official positions during the two-week meeting. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL QUASSA)
Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa sits April 16 on the floor of the general assembly of the UN where he is a member of the official Canadian delegation to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. As a member of the official delegation, he will be able to participate in the Canadian government's official positions during the two-week meeting. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL QUASSA)

As a member of the official Canadian delegation, Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa joined more than 1,000 Indigenous participants and government delegates from around the world at United Nations Headquarters in New York Monday morning for the opening session of the 17th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

This year’s session, which runs until April 27, is focused on Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and natural resources.

But Monday morning’s opening ceremony started off with a bang, as Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, called in his address for the word “issues” in the name of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to be removed and replaced by “peoples” or “rights.”

That’s because Indigenous peoples are not “issues,” he said.

For 500 years the Indigenous people of America have waged a resistance campaign to defend their dignity and identity, he said: “We are all descendants of Mother Earth, so we are all brothers and sisters.”

Over the next two weeks, those at the permanent forum will discuss the upcoming International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the rights of Indigenous women and children.

More than 100 side events are also scheduled to take place during the session, organized by Indigenous peoples’ organizations, UN member states, UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders. One such event, hosted by Canada on Monday afternoon, was called “Continuing the Conversation on Indigenous Participation.”

During this Monday event, Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs, said that she was disappointed that the UN general assembly has not yet decided to include a guarantee for Indigenous representation.

“We see this as an opportunity for discussion,” she said during a panel discussion, streamed online, which included, among others, Canadian First Nations leader Edward John.

Indigenous peoples often are relegated to the bleachers—even during such events as the opening of the forum where government delegates sat on the floor of the assembly, John said.

On Monday, Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott ceded their time to allow John to speak on his call in the plenary session for more Indigenous participation at the UN and for Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, to talk about the need for tuberculosis elimination.

Indigenous peoples make up less than six per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They live across some 90 countries, represent 5,000 different cultures and speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages, according to information from the UN.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established by the UN Economic and Social Council in 2000 as the global platform for dialogue, cooperation and concrete action on indigenous peoples, with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the fundamental framework.

As for Canada’s federal Liberal government, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has said it will support a private member’s bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which recognizes the basic human rights of Indigenous peoples, including their right to self-determination, lands and languages.

That bill has now received second reading and been referred to committee in the House of Commons.

More information on the 17th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues can be found here.

You can also follow sessions live on webtv.un.org.

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(14) Comments:

#1. Posted by Jobi on April 17, 2018

Bennett was in Iqaluit recently and seen Inuit living in shacks. Quassa shut down GN involvement in Kitikmeot road & port project. Now both r in NY saying how Aboriginal people have hard life. Look in mirror u 2 cause u haven’t been helping change this!

#2. Posted by changes take time on April 17, 2018

#1 Jobi, the present GN and Premier are working toward exposing and fixing what has been left in the back rooms of government for 18 years.  The active GN and Premier are working for Inuit.

Have the sea lifts arrived with structure supplies?  Has the problem with high costs for food been fixed?  The list of problems that need fixing are in the active GN process of changing.

The problems that were not actively pursued over the past 18 years will take time to fix, and in the present, the Premier has to attend meetings and to give input whether at home or in NY, to help make better changes for the future.

#3. Posted by Millionaire on April 17, 2018

Trudeau Jr’s statement about Kinder-Morgan tells us everything about his regard for Indigenous people and their rights. Nothing much has changed from the days when the first Europeans arrived in America and said “MINE!”

“I’m going to take what I want, go back home, and be rich. I’ll leave a bunch of ‘my people’ to keep the wealth flowing to me.”

#4. Posted by Jobi on April 18, 2018

#2. Don’t see how going UN meeting in NY going to help Nunavummiut now or anytime soon? This UN meeting just like Paris climate change meeting everyone went to couple yrs ago. All expenses paid holiday. That is all.

#5. Posted by Just Wondering on April 18, 2018

#2 I’m jut curious but, do you work in the Premier’s communications office?

#6. Posted by EskiMoses on April 18, 2018

Why not EskiMoses.  We also have a slogun ready to go; “Let my People Go!” 

Federal Government is also a big time fail.  All talk and nothing more.  I heard an Inuk say, Uqaraviuk Pijarirkpait - now that you have said it, you are now done with it.

#7. Posted by Emma, Vancouver on April 18, 2018

#3, A very true statement, unfortunately this has been the way of human
beings, all over the world, for many thousands of years. All races are
the same. Inuit came from Northeast Russia!!
As long as people choose to live in isolated communities, which are very
expensive to support and maintain, you will have all the problems that
go with it.
It is the Canadian tax payer who is supporting your so called way of life.
  The traditional ways of native people have long gone.

#8. Posted by Grumman, Alberta on April 18, 2018

So many native peoples are ripped off by their own greedy leaders who
are too busy getting new houses and high wages and ignore the people
entirely. Look around, it is true.

#9. Posted by Numbers Man on April 19, 2018

GN transparency would show the numbers on their website on the cost of travel and who went and why.  Northern Lights, UN, etc.

This transparency would help the GN decide on if there are too many attending and to ensure each dept is aware of the other when the stats increase.

#10. Posted by Skwaddy on April 19, 2018

#7 & #8, I agree with you.
As for the rest of you :
Do you believe politicians do things for our benefit ?
The choir sang,” BELIEVE IT IF YOU LIKE” .

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