Attorney: Kim Gottschalk
On September 13, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The vote was 143 in favor, 4 opposed, and 11 abstaining. The only votes in opposition were Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This historic vote came after 30 years of worldwide indigenous efforts. NARF has represented the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in this matter since 1999.
The UNDRIP recognizes that indigenous peoples have important collective human rights in a multitude of areas, including self-determination, spirituality, and lands, territories and natural resources. The UNDRIP sets out minimum standards for the treatment of indigenous peoples and can serve as the basis for the development of customary international law.
In 2009 Australia and New Zealand reversed their positions and now support the UNDRIP. At the Permanent Forum meeting, in April 2010, the U.S. announced it would review its prior vote against the UNDRIP. As part of its review, it reached out to Indian Country and beyond to hold Consultations with Tribes and meetings with other interested entities and individuals. Canada endorsed the UNDRIP in November 2010 and on December 16, 2010, President Obama, at the Tribal Leaders Meeting made the historic announcement that the U.S. was reversing its negative vote and now endorses the UNDRIP. In January NARF participated in a brainstorming session with tribal leaders, Indian law practitioners and scholars on implementation of the UNDRIP hosted by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Tribe in California. On June 9, 2011 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on UNDRIP's implementation. NARF and its client NCAI submitted written testimony.