This examination of the role played by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in advancing indigenous peoples' self-determination comes at a time when the quintessential Eurocentric nature of international law has been significantly challenged by the increasing participation of indigenous peoples on the international legal scene. Even though the language of human rights discourse has historically contributed to delegitimise indigenous peoples' rights to their lands and cultures, this same language is now upheld by indigenous peoples in their ongoing struggles against the assimilation and eradication of their cultures. By demanding that the human rights and freedoms contained in various UN human rights instruments be now extended to indigenous peoples and communities, indigenous peoples are playing a key role in making international law more 'humanising' and less subject to State priorities.
Elvira Pulitano is an associate professor in the ethnic studies department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). Her research and teaching interests include indigenous studies, African diaspora literatures, Caribbean studies, theories of race and ethnicity, migration, diaspora and human rights discourse.
Indigenous rights and international law: an introduction; 1. Indigenous self-determination, culture and land: a reassessment in light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; 2. Treaties, peoplehood and self-determination: understanding the language of rights in the UN Declaration; 3. Talking up indigenous peoples' original intent in a space dominated by state interventions; 4. Australia's NT intervention and indigenous rights on language education and culture: an ethnocidal solution to aboriginal 'dysfunction'?; 5. Articulating indigenous statehood: Cherokee state formation and implications for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; 6. 'The freedom to pass and repass': can the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples keep the US-Canadian border ten feet above our heads?; 7. Traditional responsibility and spiritual relatives: protection of indigenous rights to land and sacred places; 8. Seeking the corn mother: transnational indigenous community building and organizing, food sovereignty and native literary studies; 9. 'Use and control': issues of repatriation and redress in American Indian literature; 10. Contested ground: 'AEina, identity and nationhood in Hawaii; 11. Kanawai, international law, and the discourse of indigenous justice: some reflections on the Peoples' International Tribunal in Hawaii; Afterword: implementing the Declaration.