Politics of Belonging and Connection to Land Through Spirituality: to Enforce the Un Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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The goal of this presentation is to stress the importance of a politics of belonging and connection to land through spirituality to enforce the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

First I will try to explain where the recognition of indigenous peoples rights is in the Un System and than illustrate the future challenges that Indigenous Peoples will have to face in the path for self determination and repossession of identity.

Just ahead of the G8 Summit in July 2008, the Ainu Association invited twenty-four indigenous delegates in Hokkaido to discuss climate change and indigenous survival during the Indigenous Peoples Summit (IPS) in Ainu Mosir 2008. A declaration was released at the end of the summit: the NIBUTANI DECLARATION OF THE 2008 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SUMMIT. This declaration states that the implementation of the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples will not only benefit Indigenous Peoples but will also benefit the earth and the rest of the world. If Indigenous People will be able to continue practicing their sustainable ways of caring for the earth and caring for their relatives, not only human beings, but also plants, animals and all other living things, everybody will benefit from it.

One of the most notable features of the contemporary International human rights regime has been the recognition of indigenous peoples as special subjects of concern. A discrete body of international human rights law upholding the collective rights of indigenous peoples has emerged and is rapidly developing. The passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nation General Assembly on September 13, 2007 is of enormous importance, but as a UN declaration and not a convention, the DRIP is not legally binding on states, but rather, it is a political document which became part of the international human right consensus and its principles are, in some sense, morally binding on all state.

This declaration and its hoped evolution soon or later into convention, recognized Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights and rights to land and self-determination. The International human rights consensus that grew up in the shadow of the II War World was based exclusively on an individual rights understanding of human rights. This body of human rights law did provide Indigenous Peoples with rights of equality and protection from all form of discrimination within the state. But, because the land and self-determination rights that Indigenous People so often sought were collective in nature, the existing body of human rights law, designed around the liberal conception of the universality of individual rights, largely excluded Indigenous rights as articulated and thought by Indigenous peoples. The collective rights principle central to Indigenous global politics posed deep challengers to the constitution of modern state system and to liberal world order. (plural sovereignty)

At the heart of all indigenous cultures are relations between kin that differ profoundly from the ways that kin relations are practiced and understood in settler cultures. Kinship in most indigenous cultures includes an ongoing relationship with the land and natural environment, physical and spiritual, an understanding that is entirely absent from the settler cultures that originated in Europe. This indigenous understanding of kinship extends form cosmology to political and economic life and provides a foundation for cultural resistance to the rational operation of state power within post settler states. At the heart of settler cultures is a gendered and rugged individualism that views land and the natural world as needing to be brought under control. This individualistic relationship with the environment extends from western cosmology to political and economic life, providing a foundation for the operation of state power and bureaucratic rationality within post-settler state. Kinship cosmologies and kin-based polities do...
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