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Ambassador Ronald Barnes
Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition
United Nations Preparatory Conference on the World Conference on Racism
3-7 December, Santiago, Chile 2000.
In order to resolve the problems of Indigenous Peoples in our world today, you must first recognize our plight: that as Indigenous Peoples we continue to face a litany of racial discrimination that is leading to our systematic destruction. As States, if you cannot admit the political, economic and social disease that haunts the soul and strikes the spiritual well-being of Indigenous Peoples, how can you work to make things right. Indigenous Peoples do know your fears, and we know the obscure reasons why you do not want to recognize us. If you can break down the barriers by opening up the dialogue at every phase of development within Indigenous boundaries, at the national level and at the United Nations, then we can talk substance. This includes relationships with migrants, Blacks and Minorities from every sector of society.
At the Inter-sessional Working Group on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and at other meeting arenas, we have expressed our positions. It is now time to get passed the hard line positions of Governments. Can you demonstrate courage and show us your fears. It is said that alcoholics must go through a phase of twelve steps. Can Governments develop a twelve step process to end colonialism, economic exploitation and began a healing process by recognizing the right of self-termination for Indigenous Peoples by 1) admitting there is a problem 2) admit you cannot solve it yourself 3) ask the creator for help 4) accept that other states have the similar problem 5) agree to work in equal partnership with Indigenous Peoples 5) commit to work year by year and 6) support each other. We can work on the other six steps together.
Mr. Chairman, I strongly encourage Governments to work with us so we can develop the twelve steps that allows a healing process in the social, political, economic dimensions; this will allow us to educate each other and began a good faith dialogue with a free and open exchange.
We need a collective healing process that allows Indigenous Peoples the opportunity to exercise the right of full participation at all levels of governance. It is only then will a genuine relationship be germinated to allow for our rightful place among nations and peoples.
Thank you Mr. Chair.
Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition Anchorage, Alaska 99504