Indigenous Rights, Local Sovereignty, and
“Free Prior & Informed Consent”
Julian Aguon: Chamorro (Guam)
Richard Tuheiava, Polynesia (Tahiti)
Terri Keko’olani, Native Hawaiian
Melissa Nelson, Chippewa, U.S.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Igorot, the Philippines
Michael Leon Guerrero, Chamorro, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
The UN Special Committee on Decolonization will shortly be holding a regional seminar in Ecuador devising “fresh and creative” approaches to mobilizing the political will needed to eradicate colonialism. Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly will be voting upon re-inscribing French Polynesia back onto the UN list of Non-Self-Governing territories i.e., “colonies.”
Numerous other Pacific Islands, are struggling for self-determination, and the control of their lands and resources. These include West Papua, and its people, confronting what both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have termed “genocide” by Indonesian security forces, eager to support invading resource corporations. Meanwhile, the United States colony of Guam, and its Chamorro population, have been battling a half-century long takeover of its lands and waters by the U.S. military. Other parts of Micronesia and Melanesia, as well as the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, and Australia’s Cocos Islands face subjugation from the resource and military hungers of the world’s great military powers.
Tragically, very little awareness of the consequences of these situations have made it into mainstream U.S. media, thus shielding the U.S. public from knowledge of what government policy is bringing. The news of these circumstances needs to get out. New collaborations among Pacific Island peoples, and between U.S. activists and Pacific Islanders, must be established, toward advancing the rights of “free prior and informed consent”.