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Support for declaration

I am glad that Indian Country Today took the first step in observing that indigenous government should abide by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I was involved in talks with State Department people who tried to use indigenous compliance as part of the declaration as a red herring to deter indigenous support. I once asked one such official, ''Oh, you would love to have it as a super-Indian Civil Rights Act, wouldn't you?'' The point was its use as a weapon against indigenous governments.

On the other hand, ICT is quite right about the direction of human rights law. The excellent discussion of the declaration reminded me of Bartolome de Las Casas of Spain, who can be said to be the true ''father'' of the declaration. He also observed that, ''All mankind is one.'' (16th century lawyers did not use inclusive gender terms).

- James W. Zion

Albuquerque, N.M.

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