An intervention presented to the UNPFII To ABOLISH border imperialism

Seeding Sovereignty’s Christine Nobiss was invited to participate in a training prior to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The training is called Project Access and hosted by the Tribal Link Foundation. It brings about 30 Indigenous people from all over the world to learn how to navigate the UNPFII. Christine, Emily Lerosion, Karissa John, Lucas Manchineri, Nasianta Ene Meeli and Aira Kamaiura wrote an intervention together on Border Imperialism, which was read at the forum by Karissa. Below is the written intervention. Watch the video on UN Web TV - Karissa begins reading at 2:14.

The Abolish Border Imperialism Intervention Group at the Project Access Training: From left to right - Aira Kamaiura, Nasianta Ene Meeli, Christine Nobiss, Karissa John, Ghazali Ohorella, Emily Lerosion, and Lucas Manchineri.

The Abolish Border Imperialism Intervention Group at the Project Access Training: From left to right - Aira Kamaiura, Nasianta Ene Meeli, Christine Nobiss, Karissa John, Ghazali Ohorella, Emily Lerosion, and Lucas Manchineri.


Eighteenth Session

New York City, NY, USA, April 22 to May 3, 2018

Item 11, Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

This intervention is presented by the participants of Tribal Link’s Project Access Global Capacity Building Training Programme representing the following six regions of the world: Africa, Asia, North America, Latin America and The Caribbean, Pacific, and Russia.

Intervention written by: Emily Lerosion (Samburu Nation, Kenya), Karissa John (Mohawk, Six Nations, Turtle Island) Christine Nobiss (Plains Cree/Saulteaux, George Gordon First Nation, Turtle Island), Lucas Manchineri (Manchineri Nation, Brazil), Nasianta Ene Meeli (Maasai Nation, Kenya) and Aira Kamaiura (Xingu Nation, Brazil)

Intervention Mentor: Ghazali Ohorella

Intervention read by: Karissa John

She:kon Sewakwe:kon, Karissa ni yonkyats. A’nowara niwaki’taro:ten. Kanien’keha:ka niwakohwentsyo:ten. Nya:wen Lenape.


In reference to the EMRIP study on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Context of Borders, Migration and Displacement, we, the participants in Tribal Link’s Project Access training, take this opportunity to state the following:

The ongoing colonization of our territories and resources all over the world has resulted in and continues, the placement of foreign borders upon territories Indigenous peoples have inhabited since time immemorial. These impositions adversely affects the nationhood and identity of Indigenous peoples everywhere. Colonial border-policy enforcement, coupled with settler-state immigration laws, are some key factors in eroding Indigenous Peoples customs, traditions and national identities through displacement, restriction of movement and ongoing encroachment and exploitation of Indigenous territories.

In this regard, we highlight the following concerns:

First, the U.S. government is enforcing aggressive border restriction policies (1) on sanctuary seeking Latin-American Indigenous Peoples attempting to cross a border that cuts through territories their ancestors have always traveled.

The forced removal of many undocumented Indigenous Peoples already established in the country and forcing them into inhospitable prison camps, separating children from caregivers, is  in violation of Article 7 of UNDRIP and the CRC.

Secondly, on megaprojects of extractive industries, these projects have devastating impacts on Indigenous peoples. For example, in Brazil, illegal logging and agri-business are encroaching on the borders of the sixteen Indigenous Nations that live in Xingu Indigenous Park and also the territory of the Manchineri Nation. Likewise, in Africa, the Samburu Peoples in Kenya are being violated and forced to vacate their lands by a massive infrastructure project called LAPPSET. (2) The Indigenous Peoples fleeing from encroachment and violence like the Nuba in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya have lost their nationhood due to displacement.

In light of these violations, we assert our right for the requirement of free, prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples, particularly in matters of access to our traditional lands as affirmed in UNDRIP and reaffirmed in the WCIP outcome document.

We therefore recommend that:

  • The EMRIP study reflect effective measures to implement article 6, that every Indigenous individual has the right to a nationality and 36 of UNDRIP, which states that indigenous peoples divided by international borders have the right to maintain and develop relations across borders.

  • The Special Rapporteur to continue to closely monitor the implementation of its recommendations to the government of Brazil, and urge the government to continue and strengthen FUNAI.

In closing, we reference article 25, our right to uphold our responsibilities to the future generations and 42 the responsibility of the UN, its bodies, agencies and member states to promote respect and full implementation of UNDRIP. Lastly, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Project Access and the UN Voluntary Fund for making the participation of Indigenous peoples here possible. You demonstrate a true commitment towards equity and inclusion by ensuring that not only are we seen, but our voices are heard.

Skén:nen kenhák sewakwé:kon

Let everyone be peaceful


1. This government is actively working on extreme measures that will result in a 60 billion dollar border wall between the US and Mexico that cuts across preexisting Indigenous lands and current treaty territories like those of the Tohono o’odham in the occupied state of Arizona.

2. The Samburu, the rendile and the turkana are indigenous people of the northern Kenya that live in areas affected by the mega LAPSSET (Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia) Transport and infrastructure project. The LAPSSET project is not by itself but comes with other major projects like the crocodile jaw project. The government allows the investments of these projects on our territorial ancestral lands.

Christine NobissComment