President Obama today announced United States support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The announcement, made during the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of the Interior, underscores the U.S. commitment to strengthening government-to-government relationships with federally recognized tribes and furthering U.S. policy on indigenous issues.
The decision to support the Declaration represents an important and meaningful change in the U.S. position, and resulted from a comprehensive, interagency policy review, including extensive consultation with tribes. While the Declaration is not legally binding, it carries considerable moral and political force and complements the President’s ongoing efforts to address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States.
The President’s speech can be found on http://www.whitehouse.gov. A more detailed statement regarding U.S. support for the Declaration and our recent related initiatives in Indian country can be found at www.state.gov/p/io/.