The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held its Twenty-First Session (UNPFII21), from April 25 through May 6, 2022, at the UN headquarters in New York City. The theme of the session was “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent.” The Implementation Project attended the session to support tribes and others engaging with the United Nations, national governments, and other Indigenous Peoples regarding human rights. The Project also held several online events, open to everyone who wanted to learn more about the Forum, implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States, and the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.


EVENT ONE | Recorded April 20, 2022
Permanent Forum Preview: Indigenous Peoples & Access to the United Nations

Curious about what the United Nations has to offer American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Indigenous Peoples? Watch this informational session to learn about the upcoming UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and opportunities to participate now and in the future. The recording includes tribal advocates and experts sharing their perspectives and a Q & A.


Karla General – Associate Legal Counsel at Seneca Nation
Honor Keeler – Consultant for The Implementation Project
Geoffrey Roth – Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

EVENT TWO | Recorded May 3, 2022
Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S.

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, the Declaration recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights in many areas, including survival and self-determination, land and culture, political participation and child welfare, as well as the safeguard of “free, prior, and informed consent”. As countries including Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand take measures to implement the Declaration, tribal leaders and experts discussed advancement of the Declaration in the U.S.


Walter Echo-Hawk – President of the Pawnee Nation Business Council and former NARF Staff Attorney (1973-2009)
Keith Harper – Former U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative UN Human Rights Council, Member-Elect,
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Partner Jenner & Block Law Firm
Angela R. Riley – Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Director of UCLA’s J.D./M.A. joint degree program in Law
and American Indian Studies and the Native Nations Law and Policy Center

EVENT THREE | May 5, 2022
Language Rights are Human Rights: Participating in the International Decade of Indigenous Languages

The United Nations has proclaimed 2022-2032 the “International Decade of Indigenous Languages.” Indigenous language activists, leaders, and linguists who are participating in the Decade discuss this unprecedented opportunity to foster awareness and secure Indigenous Peoples’ rights to use, revitalize, and transmit their languages to future generations.


Ben Barnes – Chief of the Shawnee Tribe
Dr. Gabriela Pérez Báez – Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon; Director, Language Revitalization Lab
Ofelia Zepeda – Regents’ Professor of Linguistics for American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona


Sue Noe – Senior Staff Attorney for Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
Kristen Carpenter – Council Tree Professor of Law, Director, American Indian Law Program, University of Colorado Law School

The Implementation Project is a joint initiative of the Native American Rights Fund and Colorado Law to advance education and advocacy regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Visit to learn more.

Webinars on the United Nations