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"Enhanced Participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN: Pushing the Boundaries of Indigenous Rights, Statehood..."

Thursday, March 23, 2023
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Robert Sutherland Hall
Room: 202
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The Department of Political Studies Presents:

"Enhanced Participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN: Pushing the Boundaries of Indigenous Rights, Statehood, and Human Rights Norms", with Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot

Dr. Lightfoot will be appearing via Zoom.  Attendees may opt to attend in person OR via Zoom (registration required for Zoom).

Abstract: Throughout the decades that Indigenous peoples have appeared at the UN, only two paths of participation have been available to them: representation by Member States, with whom they are often in conflict, or as non-governmental organizations. Indigenous peoples have not been allowed to represent themselves as nations at the UN. Indigenous peoples have been pushing for an independent status at the United Nations for some time. However, at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014, an important shift occurred, as states also committed to making this a reality. In practice, enhanced participation would mean that Indigenous groups, who organize and advocate for themselves in international space, without representing or being represented by states or NGOs, would be engaged in a form of global political self-determination distinct from already existing channels. This paper explores the opportunities and challenges involved in advancing Indigenous peoples’ participation in the UN General Assembly, based on original fieldwork where I have attended drafting and consultation meetings on enhanced Indigenous peoples’ participation.


Rachel Lang | Communications and Events Assistant | Department of Political Studies
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