When James Anaya, United Nations special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous people, visited Oklahoma last month to take testimony from American Indian tribal officials, we questioned the point of the whole exercise.
Anaya was supposedly interested in how the United States aligns with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But as we noted at the time, there are few places where tribal citizens are more embedded in the broader culture than Oklahoma.
Now, it appears we have an answer. During a recent appearance in Catoosa, American Indian activist and legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk declared the U.N. declaration “would restore the rights of indigenous people taken away by colonialism.” Echo-Hawk went so far as to claim the U.N. declaration may “change the course of history” and would have to be implemented through “advocacy, litigation, legislation and changes in social policy.”
Those statements bring to mind the debate over “reparations” for slavery. In both cases, you have people who never personally experienced a particular historical injustice demanding that other people who never personally committed the injustice pony up cash even though neither one was an actual victim or perpetrator.