On October 28, it was recommended to the United Nations Third Committee that the doors to the Special Committee on Decolonization be opened to Indigenous nations including those from North America.
The recommendation came from Alfred M. deZayas, the U.N. Independent Expert Professor. The Committee was established in 1961 by the U.N. General Assembly for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the U.N. Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples according to a press release by the Sioux Nation Treaty Council. American Indian nations with treaties with the United States that include treaty territories would be included.
The Committee had been inactive since 1986 on the basis that its mandate was limited only to those territories that are on the Non-Self Governing Territories (NSGT) list. That list consists of 17 NSGTs across the globe that is home to nearly 2 million people that remain to be decolonized according to the U.N. website.
But in May that changed.
According to the release, a General Assembly Resolution added French Polynesia to the NSGT list and renewed hope that the process could work.
The Sioux Nation Treaty Council approached the Decolonization Committee in the past, but with this new recommendation, their efforts should be advanced for the upholding and enforcement of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 made with the United States.
“Since 1984, Sioux Nation Treaty Council delegates have consistently held their position in many interventions at various U.N. meetings stating that the United States has illegally occupied the 1868 Treaty Territory since the early 1870s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills,” the release states. “The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 is supported by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the March 3rd Act of 1871, and more recently by a federal case in 2009. Now this recommendation will enable the Sioux Nation Treaty Council to bring their case to the U.N. Decolonization Committee.”