Newspaper Article

Native Americans won a vital battle at UN 40 years ago – they need help again



Toth G (2017) Native Americans won a vital battle at UN 40 years ago – they need help again. The Conversation. 20.09.2017.

First paragraph: Native Americans secured an important victory in Geneva in September 1977. The United Nations held aConference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, which succeeded in pressuring the US and other governments to recognise these peoples’ special status. This led to a global regime of indigenous human rights that drew a line under a period of overt discrimination against Native Americans in the US – even if the results were far from perfect. Forty years on, Indian rights are once again backsliding alarmingly and there is again a need for international help. In the 1970s, Native Americans were staring cultural death in the face. The US government’stermination policyof the 1950s had sought to disband the reservation system and force Indians to become part of modern society. The government had ended federal protection over more than 100 Native nations, removed their tax-exempt status, withdrew financial assistance and scrapped services like education and health. Reservation land was reduced in size and cut up into individual parcels that could be bought and sold. Thousands of Indian families who moved to big cities with the government’s relocation programme received too little assistance, and experienced discrimination in housing, the job market and the justice system. As a result, many sank into poverty, crime and disease.

Publication date online20/09/2017
PublisherThe Conversation Trust
Publisher URL…help-again-84343
Place of publicationLondon

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Dr Gyorgy Toth

Dr Gyorgy Toth

Lecturer, History