NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, American Indian Movement Interpretive Center, American Indian Movement and its Affiliates called on the United Nations to pass a resolution which calls for the stopping of racism and racist acts in sports and media.
The resolution was read Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at the UNPF on Indigenous Issues session, we will be calling for a resolution or a study by this UN Body, noted was the UN Declaration article (8) that addresses racist and derogatory, demeaning propaganda against Indigenous people.
This historical moment will be lead by:
LeMoine LaPointe – President of Board of Directors: AIM Interpretive Center,
To be read by:
Thorne LaPointe & Wakinyan LaPointe – Youth Delegates
In Support of:
Tony Gonzales- UN Liaison and President of AIM – West Chapter
Below is the resolution:
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
American Indian Movement (AIM) and Affiliates, and the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media.
Agenda item 3: Open Dialogue (Governments, Indigenous Peoples Organizations, UN Agencies)
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 61st session in New York provides the world’s 370 million Indigenous peoples with a significant tool toward eliminating human rights violations if only the political will is there by nation/states.
The Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues. It also prohibits discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and it promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own vision of economic and social development.
The goal of the Declaration is to encourage nation/states to work in partnership alongside Indigenous peoples to solve global issues, like development, multicultural democracy and decentralization. According to Article 31, there is a major emphasis that the Indigenous peoples will be able to protect their cultural heritage and other aspects of their culture and tradition, which is extremely important in preserving their heritage.
Members of this august body, no Indigenous child, nor any child or peoples, should have to grow up in a world where professional sports and media persist in using discriminatory names and mascots that immeasurably damage the self-perception of the child and the child’s equal place in society. However, through the unrestricted use of Indigenous peoples as mascots in sports, media and commerce, Indigenous peoples become victims of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color and national origin. While many Indigenous peoples choose to live their lives with pride and independence from the negative influences of institutional racism, it remains necessary to vigorously assert their equal human rights through education, political action and legal action.
The names, associated images, and relentless public appropriation of sacred Indigenous peoples heritage include such derogatory and damaging examples as in a football team called the “redskins” a name that reminds everyone daily of the bloody scalps of Indigenous men, women and children murdered in America. Or, the “Indians” another name linked to an outrageously racist mascot caricature in professional baseball, and hundreds of appropriated images of Indigenous peoples and cherished Elders to be used for the amusement and profit of non-Indigenous peoples.
No similar denigrating language, names or images for other minority or protected classes of peoples would be tolerated. Yet, sports organizations, media organizations and many fans have inherited and perpetuated an immunity to racism embedded in derogatory Indigenous sports names and mascots, and the damage they do to the freedom of anyone to live their lives without experiencing prejudice or ridicule.
Distinguished members of this forum, my delegation urges you to consider a resolution, and or a study on racism in sports, media, and commerce that is being directed against Indigenous peoples with a focus on sports names and mascots that appropriate Indigenous names and images and that it should be changed by the perpetuating institutions, media organizations, schools and corporations so that they can no longer harm Indigenous children, as per the UN Declaration in Article 8.
In conclusion Ms. Chairperson, my delegation looks forward to the day when the Declaration is upgraded to a Convention where the articles will be legally binding instruments upon government nation/states and no longer deny Indigenous peoples their human rights to dignity and respect for our way of life.
Thank you all my relations.