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Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Self-Determination and Other Rights Related to Access to Justice: Normative Framework

Sambo Dorough, Dalee

When speaking of Indigenous Peoples and access to justice, it is important to understand the historical contextual framework for the litany of injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples in order to determine if we can in fact ever “reconcile” the dramatically different worldviews of Indigenous Peoples and others, and in particular nation-States. In my view, the cultural clashes experienced by most, if not all, Indigenous Peoples across the globe have crystallized or hardened to the point that full reconciliation may not ever be possible. I have been asked to provide an overview of the normative framework needed to begin to right the wrongs concerning access to justice, including truth and reconciliation. The normative framework necessary has been established by the Declaration—the most comprehensive international human rights instrument specifically concerning Indigenous Peoples. And, in this regard, the Declaration articles must be read as a whole and in context. Like all other human rights, these minimum standards are inter-related, inter-dependent, indivisible, and inter-connected. I would like to emphasize the right of self-determination and a number of articles relevant to the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples, then conclude with a few comments on developments in Alaska, as a hopeful example of improving access to justice through Indigenous self-determination and “partnership” or cooperation with others.


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Indigenous Peoples’ Access To Justice, Including Truth And Reconciliation Processes
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

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Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Published Here
March 25, 2015


This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at