Reading Peter d’Errico’s account of the United States government’s shell games in usurping international law in its larcenous efforts against the Western Shoshone nation, I am reminded that the longer an empire goes on, the more corrupt it becomes. Ever since the founding fathers of the American empire set out to swindle indigenous nations under the cover of treaties, there has never been any intent on the part of the federal government to honor its commitments, or even play by the rules it established.
Since 2007, when the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted as international law over the objections of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the sham of US Indian policy has come to be a disgrace on our character and integrity. But long before the UN caught up on human rights for non-colonial societies, the treaties with indigenous nations stood as instruments of recognition of indigenous sovereignty. The fact they were not honored did not change that.
Looking at the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it is not inconceivable that someday an independent Shoshone nation might be added as a member of the United Nations, perhaps along with the Navajo nation, and any number of other nations indigenous to North America. Perhaps as in Europe, the borders will remain open, while jurisdictions are exercised separately and collectively based on binding negotiation.
Given the reluctance of the United States to conduct its affairs in good faith, this perhaps is the only way for the Shoshone and other American Indian nations to meet their needs and fulfill their dreams.
And what would be so terrible about that?
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here