An Intervention Presented to the UNPFII on the Correlation Between Man-Camps and Increased Violence to Indigenous Peoples

UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES

Eighteenth Session

New York City, NY, USA, April 22 to May 3, 2019

Item 4, May 1, Implementation of 6 Mandated Areas of the Permanent Forum with Reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

This intervention is presented by the representatives of Earth Island Institute’s Seeding Sovereignty Project and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples represented by Sacred Earth Solar & Indigenous Climate Action

Intervention written by: Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux, George Gordon First Nation and Melina Laboucan Massimo, Lubicon Cree First Nation. Special thank you to Melina Laboucan Massimo for having some of this information readily available on on the Sacred Earth Solar website.

Intervention delivered by: Christine Nobiss

Please watch the livestream at the Seeding Sovereignty FB page.

North American Indigenous Peoples standing in solidarity with Melina and Christine’s intervention, including Claudia Velandia-Onofre and LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard.

North American Indigenous Peoples standing in solidarity with Melina and Christine’s intervention, including Claudia Velandia-Onofre and LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard.

Mîyo kîkisepâyâw, Nitsîkason Christine Nobiss ekwa niya nehiyaw/nahkawiyinîwiw. Mistahi kiteyehtakosihk anohc katipiskak.

THANK YOU MISTER/MADAM CHAIR AND MY INDIGENOUS RELATIONS,

In reference to the forum’s mandated area on Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur’s Mandate on Violence against Women, we of Turtle Island, residing in both Canada and the US, but cut off by a colonially imposed border, take this opportunity to state the following:

The relentless colonization of our territories has a direct correlation to an increased rate of violence against Indigenous Peoples--in particular women, children and two spirits. We have many names for this crisis, one of which is Missing and Murdered Relatives (MMIR). Our focus today is to call attention to the effect that temporary workforce housing (also known as man-camps) for large construction projects, fossil fuel extraction or mineral mining has on Indigenous communities situated nearby. As James Anaya, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has stated, “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into Indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects also led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.” 1

In this regard, we highlight the following two examples:

In a study in Canada examining the potential impacts associated with the construction of the Mount Milligan Mine in British Columbia on the Nak’azdli and Tl’azt’en First Nations territories and the municipality of Fort St. James, it was found that “the local community experienced a 48% increase in assaults with a weapon, 50% increase in aggravated assaults, 38% increase in sexual assaults, and 37% increase in missing people reports” 2

According to a report, released in 2017, there is a correlation between an increase of violence and the Bakken oil boom. On the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, located in the middle of the Bakken oil fields, there was a 70 percent increase of federal case filings between 2009 and 2011. The report states that “Since the boom, Native American communities have reported increased rates of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, and missing and murdered indigenous women in their communities.” 3

In light of this MMIR crisis, we reference Article 22.2 where “States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.”

We therefore recommend that:

  • Article 22.2 include the term two spirit as they are also a highly targeted community.

  • That the UN recommend that the United States Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) should add stronger language surrounding judicial sovereignty for Tribal Nations to prosecute non-tribal perpetrators on their own territories, which adheres to Article 34 of UNDRIP that states that Indigenous Peoples have a right to develop and maintain juridical systems or customs.

  • That the UN support Indigenous advocates in Canada that are demanding the Federal government ensure sexual violence associated with worker camps is addressed in the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry, set to be released on June 3, 2019.

  • The UN continue to push the US and Canadian governments to adhere to articles 19, 26 and 32 of UNDRIP where “Indigenous Peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands they possess” which also includes, in both countries, “free, prior and informed consent” from Tribal Nations to carry out major construction and extraction on and within a certain distance of those territories.

In closing, we ask the UN and its member states to adhere to all of UNDRIP and end the Indigenous MMIR crisis on Turtle Island.

Ay hai kitatamihin - Thank you

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  1. Anaya, James. Statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. International Expert Group Meeting on the theme: "Sexual health and reproductive rights: articles 21, 22(1), 23 and 24 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples". January 2014, New York, NY. From https://bit.ly/2UPIrTM

  2. Shandro, Janis, et al. Ten Steps Ahead: Community Health and Safety in the Nak’al Bun/Stuart Lake Region During the Construction Phase of the Mount Milligan Mine. University of Victoria and University of British Columbia. December 2014. From https://bit.ly/2IQWWW2

  3. First Peoples Investment Engagement Program. Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender. January, 2017. From https://bit.ly/2UL0BGk