In a first-ever investigation of its type, the United Nations dispatched a professor to the United States on an official visit to research and report on the living conditions of America’s indigenous population. Professor James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, arrived in the United States on Monday and will carry out his visit through May 4, traveling to Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.
"This will be the first mission to the US by an independent expert designated by the UN human rights council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples," a statement by the UN read. Anaya describes the intention of the visit on his webpage:
The aim of the Special Rapporteur's visit to the United States is to examine the human rights situation of the indigenous peoples of the country, that is, American Indians/Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. During the visit, the Special Rapporteur will hold meetings and consultations with federal and state government officials, as well as with indigenous nations and their representatives, in various locations.
A large majority of the country’s 2.7 million Native Americans reside in federally recognized tribal areas, where incest, alcoholism, high unemployment, and other social issues linger. Although they were granted power over vast areas of land, particularly in the west, U.S. Native Americans have repeatedly become involved in sovereignty and land rights’ disputes with state governments. Most American citizens have few relations with the 500-plus tribal areas in the United States, with the exception of tourists who visit the casinos or enjoy the areas’ beautiful landscapes.
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