Native American Exp Essay

Topics: Indigenous peoples, United Nations, Peru Pages: 6 (1291 words) Published: March 11, 2015
Courtney Lee
Professor Hernandez-Avila
NAS 010, SEC A06
1 December 2014
Contaminated Culture
For decades, indigenous peoples in every part of the world were forced to endure oppression, discrimination, and many other forms of abuse. A major issue that comes up when discussing indigenous rights is their struggle with the preservation of their land and resources, and the effects that has on native culture. Although there are laws enacted supposedly to protect and preserve indigenous property, many times, these laws are overlooked or ignored, and justice is not upheld. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an international instrument meant to protect native rights. This, along with other legal documents and the work of activists, are central to the protection of indigenous peoples and the resources that rightfully belong to them.

The UNDRIP is a document that was presented to the United Nations and adopted in 2007. It was meant to clearly define specific rights and what the government was and was not allowed to do regarding native peoples. The goal of the document is to encourage countries to work alongside indigenous nations to solve global issues, such as environmental issues or cultural depreciation. Article 24, subsection 1 states that indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices. Their vital medicinal plants, animals, and minerals are to be conserved as well. Ingenious individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services. In Article 26, subsection 3, it is affirmed that how states are to give legal recognition and protection to indigenous lands, territories, and resources. Such recognition must be conducted with due respect to native customs, traditions, and land tenure systems. Finally, part 1 of Article 28 declares that indigenous peoples have the right to redress, such as restitution or fair and equitable compensation, for what was taken from them without prior consent. This may include, but is not limited to, lands, territories, and resources that were owned, occupied, or used by indigenous peoples and were confiscated, taken, occupied, used, or damaged without permission (UN General). The UNDRIP is a very important document because it applies to so many problems indigenous peoples face today. As long as it is respected and followed, no native peoples’ rights should be infringed on. The problem is that the UNDRIP is not always respected and obeyed. When this happens, not only do the indigenous peoples themselves suffer, but also their culture, along with its practices and beliefs.

This horrendous situation is present even today. Although the UNDRIP was not accepted too long ago, modern-day society should respect all agreements and legal documents, no matter how new they are. This lack of respect for the well being of native peoples is the cause of a lot of issues. The Achuar people, along with many other native communities, face a very detrimental issue. The native communities in Peru’s southeastern Amazon are facing the life-threatening effects of illegal gold mining in their area. The illegal miners have made the mercury concentrations skyrocket to more than three times the level of their non-native counterparts. The mercury is used to extract the gold from river silt. Then, more than 30 tons of the toxic mercury is dumped into the rivers and lakes in the Amazon region. The native communities had levels of mercury “roughly five times [more than] that considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO)” (ICTMN STAFF). The children in these communities face the greatest threat. They are much more vulnerable as a group when it comes to the mercury poisoning. Women of childbearing age were greatly affected as well. The mercury may result in severe, permanent brain damage to an unborn child. The mercury is also poisoning the fish in the rivers, which is...

Cited: Nelson, Melissa, Nicola Wagenberg, and Phil Klasky. "Guiding Principles." The Cultural Conservancy. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. .
ICTMN STAFF. "As It Happened: Indigenous Peoples Leading off the People’s Climate March, in Photos Read More at Http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/it-happened-indigenous-peoples-leading-peoples-climate-march-photos-157312." Indian Counrty. N.p., 12 Oct. 2014. Web. .
Collyns, Dan. "Indigenous Protesters Occupy Peru 's Biggest Amazon Oil Field." The Guardian. N.p., 25 Apr. 2014. Web. .
Collyns, Dan. "Illegal Gold Mining Exposing Peru 's Indigenous Tribes to Mercury Poisoning." The Guardian. N.p., n.d. Web.
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