James Anaya, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, has conducted the United Nations’ first-ever investigation into the plight of Native Americans living in the United States. Anaya’s recommendations include advising the U.S. to return some land to Native American tribes, including South Dakota’s Black Hills, home to the famous Mt. Rushmore monument. Anaya says such a move would be a step toward addressing systemic discrimination against Native Americans that continues to this day. “The indigenous peoples of this country … suffer from poverty, poor health conditions, lack of attainment of formal education [and] social ills at rates that far exceed those of other segments of the American population,” Anaya says. “These conditions are related to a history of wrongs that they have suffered.” [includes rush transcript]
James Anaya, U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. He is also professor of human rights at the University of Arizona College of Law.