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Urge Obama on summit

The Fifth Summit of the Americas, which will be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean on April 17 – 19, will be attended by President Obama and several presidents and representatives of other countries throughout the Americas. The focus of this summit, according to two meetings I attended in Washington last week, will be on human prosperity, energy security, climate change and sustainable development.

At the two meetings I attended on the planning of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, I tried to see whether any of the representatives of the U.S. government and any of the Latin American states who spoke at these meetings would perhaps focus upon the effects of these programs on indigenous peoples.

I also mentioned that I thought it would be important for the summit to consider the importance of the acceptance of the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples currently being considered by the Organization of American States in Washington. The reason I raised this issue is because I think this OAS Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples could play an important role in ensuring that indigenous peoples in all the countries of the Americas, including the United States, are not negatively affected, but positively affected by international regional responses to human prosperity, energy security, climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

However, none of the people who spoke at these meetings in Washington had much to say about whether the rights of indigenous peoples would be promoted at the summit meeting later this month and I thought it might be interesting if some of the Native American organizations in the United States wrote to President Obama about this before he attended the meeting in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.



– Shelton Davis

Senior Fellow, Center for Latin American Studies,

Georgetown University

Falls Church, Va.