Recently, the UN said that the US government should think about returning lands, which were once taken away from American Indians, back to them.
The main initiator of returning the lands back to Indians is a commission headed by James Anaya, Professor of Human Rights, Law and Policy at the University of Arizona, a well-known fighter for the rights of American Indians.
Mr. Anaya claims that Indians in the US are often subjected to systematic race discrimination, but the government ignores this fact.
The UN’s initiative has already been backed by President Obama and his administration. But it is not ruled out that the activities of the UN commission, which will investigate cases of discriminating Indians, may be hampered by Mr. Obama’s opponents – representatives of the Republican Party. Some of them have already claimed that the work of the commission is interference in the US’s internal affairs.
The investigation held by Professor Anaya and his commission was the first time ever that the UN paid attention to the problems of America’s aboriginal population.
The US never misses a chance to accuse other countries of violating human rights. It doesn’t hesitate to “restore order” in countries, where human rights are really or allegedly violated, by sending forces there. At the same time, the US authorities seem to totally ignore the fact that Indians in their own country are, in fact, at the brink of dying off.
According to multiple reports, many Indians in the US suffer from unemployment. This makes them subjected to alcoholism and depressions which rather often end with suicides.
True, in 2010, the US government adopted a declaration which grants minimal rights to aboriginal peoples. But, in reality, this hasn’t considerably changed the life of Indians to the better. By this declaration, Indians formally received the right for vast territories. But in reality, in disputes between state-owned or private companies, on the one side, and Indians, on the other, over disputed territories, it is not the Indians who usually win.
Another big problem is the trend to destroy Indian cemeteries and sanctuaries. For example, recently, California’s authorities attempted to build a park of attractions at the place of an old Indian cemetery in the Glen Cove Valley. Indians and their supporters had to set pickets to stop the building of the park.
Some time ago, Indians received a number of privileges in organizing gaming industry. However, many Indian leaders view this as nothing but a pittance from the government, which rather corrupts the Indians’ morals than brings them any feasible good.
Professor Anaya insists that the discrimination of Indians is not limited with taking lands away from them. The professor has visited many Indian settlements, and he claims that Indian children are often discriminated in schools. Besides, the mass media and the mass culture often inoculate stereotypes that Indians are allegedly wild and uncivilized people, ignoring the fact that America’s aborigines are really people with centuries-old culture and traditions.
In September, Mr. Anaya intends to present a report on the results of his investigation. However, he already recommends the US government to start preparations to return the lands once taken away to the Indians.
James Anaya says that no one of the US congressmen has yet expressed a wish to meet with him or with members of his commission for discussing the problems of Indians. However, Mr. Anaya still hopes to draw the attention of the US authorities to the problems of people which are now a national minority in a country that once belonged totally to them.