Karen Snowshoe
Karen Snowshoe
Gwichi'in Nation
Kari-Oca Press Conference

Karen Snowshoe
Nacion Gwichi'in
Rueda de prensa de Kari-Oca

Video: Karen Snowshoe in the Kari-Oca Press Conference (English)

English Transcription:

Welcome to my brothers and sisters who are here. I would like to acknowledge first of all the land that we are on the Indigenous Peoples of these territories because my grandmother has taught me to do that I acknowledge and I recognize that we are in a territory. As you can see I am from the Gwich'in Nation I don't represent the Gwich'in Nation but I am a member of that nation. We are the most northern Indian people of the Americas. We live in the Western Arctic the land called the Northwest Territories of Canada.

In following to what my brother has said here, when we talk about human rights we bring this issue up at this conference that seems to deal with only environment and development and we want to make it very clear that you cannot separate the environment from development, from social justice or human rights issues because as indigenous peoples we have our laws they are natural and they are spiritual. We were placed on our respective territories to care for those territories for future generations and I tell you why you cannot separate human rights issues from environment and development because in all these territories indigenous peoples throughout the world their human rights are being violated whether they are being placed on reserves, displaced from their land the continuing genocide the policies of states governments continuing assimilation the saddle tactics of genocide are preventing us from fulfilling our responsibility as care takers of those lands. If you look in our declaration our first section deals with human rights and international law. We talk about collective rights we don't talk about individual rights for our peoples. Because in our traditional forms of governments there was no need to assert individual rights. They were already guaranteed in our sacred circle, in our traditional forms of government.

And so here we are up to this day and we have survived and we will continue to maintain that right for the right to have collective rights. But we want those guaranteed in international law. There is something called the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights which is presently in draft form and in our statement it says that we urge governments to support the United Nations work through fund indigenous peoples universal declaration of indigenous rights. But for more examples you can look through our chapter those are just a few words I wanted to share with you.

Thank you for being here.

Karen Snowshoe, Gwich'in


1. We demand the right to life.

2. International Law must deal with the collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Please note for the purposes of this Declaration and this statement, any use of the term "Indigenous Peoples" also includes tribal peoples.)

3. There are many international instruments which deal with the rights of individuals but there are no Declarations to recognize collective human rights, therefore, we urge governments to support the United Nations Work Group on Indigenous Peoples' (UNWGIP) Universal Declaration of Indigenous rights, which is presently in draft form.

4. There exist many examples of genocide against Indigenous Peoples, therefore, the Convention Against Genocide must be changed to include the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

5. The United Nations should be able to send Indigenous Peoples' representatives, in a peace-keeping capacity, into Indigenous territories where conflicts arise. This would be done at the request and consent of the Indigenous Peoples concerned.

6. The concept of terra nullus must be eliminated from International Law usage. Many state governments have used internal domestic laws to deny us ownership of our own lands. These illegal acts should be condemned by the world.

7. Where small numbers of Indigenous Peoples are residing within state boundaries, so-called democratic countries have denied Indigenous Peoples the right of consent about their future, using the notion of majority rule to decide the future of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples' right of consent to projects in their own areas must be recognized.

8. We must promote the term "Indigenous Peoples" at all forums. The use of the term "Indigenous Peoples" must be without qualification.

9. We urge governments to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 to guarantee an international legal instrument for Indigenous Peoples. (Note Group 2 only)

10. Indigenous Peoples' distinct and separate rights within their own territories must be recognized.

11. We assert our right to free passage through state imposed political boundaries dividing our traditional territories. Adequate mechanisms must be established to secure this right.

12. The colonial systems have tried to dominate and assimilate our peoples. However, our peoples remain distinct despite this pressure.

13. Our Indigenous governments and legal systems must be recognized by the United Nations, state governments and international legal instruments.

14. Our right to self-determination must be recognized.

Karen Snowshoe
Karen Snowshoe
Gwichi'in Nation
Kari-Oca Press Conference

Karen Snowshoe
Nacion Gwichi'in
Rueda de prensa de Kari-Oca

Video: Karen Snowshoe - Our right to self-determination must be recognized (English)

English Transcription:

There is one point as indigenous peoples we fight for the usage for the term indigenous peoples with an s and I want to make that clear to all of you. Because the states governments even here at UNCED all throughout the world are trying to refer to us as indigenous people or indigenous populations and I want to say that that is unacceptable because in international law, indigenous peoples with the s in that term that recognizes our right to self determination.

Karen Snowshoe, Gwich'in

15. We must be free from population transfer.

16. We maintain our right to our traditional way of life.

17. We maintain our right to our spiritual way of life.

18. We maintain the right to be free from pressures from multinational (transnational) corporations upon our lives and lands. All multinational (transnational) corporations which are encroaching upon Indigenous lands should be reported to the United Nations Transnational office.

19. We must be free from racism.

20. We maintain the right to decide the direction of our communities.

21. The United Nations should have a special procedure to deal with issues arising from violations of Indigenous Treaties.

22. Treaties signed between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples must be accepted as Treaties under International Law.

23. The United Nations must exercise the right to impose sanctions against governments that violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

24. We urge the United Nations to include the issue of Indigenous Peoples in the agenda of the World Conference of Human Rights to be held in 1993. The work, done so far by the United Nations Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights should be taken into consideration.

25. Indigenous Peoples should have the right to their own knowledge, language, and culturally appropriate education, including bicultural and bilingual education. Through recognizing both formal and informal ways, the participation of family and community is guaranteed.

26. Our health rights must include the recognition and respect of traditional knowledge held by Indigenous healers. This knowledge, including our traditional medicines and their preventive and spiritual healing power, must be recognized and protected against exploitation.

27. The World Court must extend its powers to include complaints by Indigenous Peoples.

28. There must be a monitoring system from this conference to oversee the return of delegates to their territories. The delegates should be free to attend and participate in international Indigenous conferences.

29. Indigenous women's rights must be respected. Women must be included in all local, national, regional and international organizations.

30. The above mentioned historical rights of Indigenous Peoples must be guaranteed in national legislations.



1. Exigimos el derecho a la vida.

2. El derecho internacional deberá tener en cuenta los derechos humanos colectivos de los pueblos indígenas. (Para efectos de esta Declaración el uso del término "pueblos indígenas" incluirá pueblos tribales).

3. Existen varios instrumentos internacionales para tratar los derechos de los individuos pero no existen declaraciones sobre derechos humanos colectivos. Exigimos que los gobiernos apoyen la declaración universal de derechos indígenas, actualmente en borrador y desarrollada por el Grupo de Trabajo de las Naciones Unidas sobre Pueblos Indígenas (GTNUPI).

4. Existen varios casos de genocidio contra pueblos indígenas. Por lo tanto, la convención contra el genocidio deberá cambiarse de manera que incluya el genocidio de pueblos indígenas.

5. Las Naciones Unidas deberán estar en condiciones de enviar representantes de pueblos indígenas, en calidad de fuerzas de paz, a aquellos territorios indígenas donde se presenten casos de conflicto. Esto se haría previa solicitud y consentimiento de los pueblos indígenas involucrados.

6. El uso del concepto terra nullus deberá eliminarse del derecho internacional. Muchos gobiernos han utilizado leyes nacionales internas para negarnos la propiedad sobre nuestras propias tierras. Estas acciones ilegales deberán ser condenadas por el mundo.

7. Algunos países llamados democráticos le han negado a los pueblos indígenas el derecho al consenso sobre su futuro, utilizando la norma del gobierno de mayoría para decidir el futuro de los pueblos indígenas, en aquellos lugares donde pequeños números de indígenas residen dentro de los límites de las fronteras de los estados. Se le deberá reconocer a los pueblos indígenas el derecho a aprobar los proyectos dentro de su propio territorio.

8. Debemos promover el uso del término "pueblos indígenas" en todo foro. El uso del término "pueblo indígena" no debe tener calificación alguna.

9. Le pedimos a los gobiernos que ratifiquen la convención 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) para garantizar un instrumento legal internacional para los pueblos indígenas. (Nota: Solo para el Grupo 2).

10. Se deberán reconocer los derechos distintivos e independientes de los indígenas dentros de sus propios territorios.

11. Afirmamos nuestro derecho a movernos libremente a través de fronteras políticas impuestas por el estado dividiendo nuestros territorios tradicionales. Se deberán establecer mecanismos adecuados para garantizar este derecho.

12. Los sistemas coloniales han tratado de dominar y asimilar nuestros pueblos. Sin embargo, nuestros pueblos conservan sus diferencias a pesar de esta presión.

13. Nuestros gobiernos indígenas y nuestros sistemas jurídicos deberán ser reconocidos por las Naciones Unidas, los gobiernos de los países y los instrumentos jurídicos internacionales.

14. Se deberá reconocer nuestro derecho a la auto-determinación.

15. Debemos ser libres del traslado de población.

16. Conservamos nuestro derecho a nuestra forma tradicional de vida.

17. Conservamos nuestro derecho a nuestra forma espiritual de vida.

18. Conservamos el derecho a ser libres de presiones de corporaciones multinacionales (transnacionales) en nuestras vidas y en nuestras tierras. Toda corporación multinacional (transnacional) que traspase tierras indígenas deberá reportarse ante la Oficina Transnacional de las Naciones Unidas.

19. Debemos ser libres de racismo.

20. Mantenemos el derecho de decidir la dirección de nuestras comunidades.

21. Las Naciones Unidas deberían desarrollar un procedimiento especial para tratar los asuntos que surjan de la violación a los tratados de los indígenas.

22. Los tratados firmados entre pueblos indígenas y pueblos no indígenas deberán aceptarse como tratados bajo el derecho internacional.

23. Las Naciones Unidas deberán ejercer el derecho a imponer sanciones a gobiernos que violen los derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

24. Solicitamos a las Naciones Unidas que incluya el tema de los pueblos indígenas en su agenda de la Conferencia Mundial de Derechos Humanos que se desarrollará en 1993. El trabajo adelantado hasta el momento por la Comisión Interamericana de Naciones Unidas sobre Derechos Humanos y el Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos deberá tenerse en cuenta.

25. Los pueblos indígenas deberán tener derecho a su propio conocimiento, lenguaje, educación apropiada a su cultura, incluyendo educación bicultural y bilingue. Al reconocer la forma formal e informal, se garantiza la participación de la familia y de la comunidad.

26. Nuestros derechos de salud deberán incluir el reconocimiento y respeto del conocimiento tradicional que tienen los curadores indígenas. Este conocimiento, incluyendo nuestras medicinas tradicionales y nuestro poder curador preventivo y espiritual deberán reconocerse y protegerse contra toda explotación.

27. La corte mundial deberá ampliar sus poderers para incluir reclamos de parte de pueblos indígenas.

28. Deberá crearse un sistema de monitoreo de esta conferencia para supervisar el retorno de los delegados a sus territorios. Los delegados deben ser libres de asistir y participar en conferencias indígenas internacionales.

29. Los derechos de la mujer indígena deberán respetarse. Las mujeres deberán ser incluidas en toda organización local, nacional, regional e internacional.

30. Los derechos históricos de los pueblos indígenas anteriormente mencionados deberán garantizarse en las legislaciones nacionales.

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International Relations | Kari-Oca to Kimberley | Kari-Oca Declaration | Earth Charter I Earth Charter - Interactive Version I Kari-Oca at UNCED I Kari-Oca Revisited

Relaciones Internacionales | De Kari-Oca a Kimberley | La Declaración de Kari-Oca I La Carta de la Tierra I La Carta de la Tierra - Version Interactiva I Kari-Oca en UNCED

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