Closely related to, and often overlapping with religious freedoms, is the topic of indigenous peoples’ cultural rights. Violations of American Indian cultural rights include the taking of lands and children, the outlawing of languages, dances, ceremonies, and traditional subsistence practices, the relocation, attempted assimilation, cultural appropriation, and degradation of sacred places, and the desecration of burial grounds.

Numerous articles of the Declaration directly address the protection and promotion of indigenous cultures, including Articles 8 and 9, Articles 11 to 17, and Article 31. Other relevant articles include Article 18 (indigenous peoples’ right to participate in decision-making in matters that may affect their rights) and Article 19 (states’ obligation to obtain indigenous peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent before adopting measures that may affect them).

While there is much work to be done, efforts to implement the Declaration’s cultural rights provisions in the U.S. are not starting from a blank slate. Existing federal laws, such as the NHPA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA), already provide some protections for tribes’ tangible and intangible cultural property, sacred sites, and other aspects of tribal cultures.

Related Links:

Webinar Series Addresses Indigenous Rights Through Intellectual Property Lens

Webinar Series Addresses Indigenous Rights Through Intellectual Property Lens

Informational flyer circulated to promote the webinar series. The University of Colorado Law School, the Native American Rights Fund, and ...
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Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's Statement on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ...
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EMRIP Study on Indigenous Languages

EMRIP Study on Indigenous Languages

This study outlines international and regional standards on indigenous peoples’ rights to language and culture, describes the relationship between indigenous ...
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Defend the Sacred

Defend the Sacred

From North Dakota’s Standing Rock encampments to Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, Native Americans have repeatedly asserted legal rights to religious ...
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UNESCO - Indigenous Peoples

UNESCO – Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples live in all regions of the world and own, occupy or use some 22% of global land area ...
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Shawnee Tribe Announces Year of the Shawnee Language in Conjunction with U.N. IYIL

Shawnee Tribe Announces Year of the Shawnee Language in Conjunction with U.N. IYIL

Chief Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Tribe, based in Miami, Oklahoma, has declared a State of Emergency for the Shawnee ...
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Guide: Know Your Rights! United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for Indigenous Adolescents

Guide: Know Your Rights! United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for Indigenous Adolescents

https://un-declaration.narf.org/wp-content/uploads/un-adolescents-guide2013.pdf The text for Know Your Rights! (written for adolescent boys and girls, aged 13 –18 years) was prepared by ...
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