• Indigenous peoples in the United States

    Indigenous peoples in the United States

    Indigenous peoples in USA are mainly Native American peoples or Alaska Native peoples. In May 2016, 567 tribal entities were federally recognized, and most of these have recognized national homelands.
  • Peoples

    6.6 million people in USA, or 2 per cent of the total population, identify as Native American or Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with another ethnic identity
  • Recognition

    2016: 567 tribal entities are federally recognized
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  • IWGIA condemns use of force in North Dakota

IWGIA condemns use of force in North Dakota

The conflict reached a peak last Sunday (20th November 2016) when police used water cannon against protesters in freezing temperatures, leaving hundreds injured.

Indigenous peoples are at the center of the opposition, especially the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who are arguing that the pipeline is not well designed and that it will disturb their sacred sites and impact their drinking water. Even though the confrontation has gained international attention this year, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been opposed to the project since first learning about the plans in 2014. Yesterday, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, Dave Archambaul II, called upon Barack Obama to respond to the violent events which, according to the tribe, has left at least 167 protesters injured.

The case of the North Dakota Pipeline shows that lives are put at risk when indigenous peoples’ land rights are not respected. IWGIA wishes to draw attention to the growing tendency to criminalize indigenous rights defenders’ struggle for respect and protection of their fundamental rights. 

IWGIA urges the US Government to take all necessary measures to put an end to the conflict and ensure a peaceful solution to the problems associated with the violation of  indigenous peoples’ internationally recognized rights, particularly the  lack of respect for the Sioux Tribe’s inherent rights to lands, territories and resources, as well as native treaties with the US government.

We strongly appeal to the US government to immediately cease the use of violence against those protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline, refrain from militarization and other forcible actions against the Native American protestors and give due respect to its international human rights obligations, including the UNDRIP.  

Finally, we call on the US President (Federal Government) to establish an immediate, effective and independent investigation into the violent police response to those peacefully demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Useful links:

Press release from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Call on North Dakota police (Amnesty International)


Tags: Land rights



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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