Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Native Rights Are Human Rights

Remembering the humanity of Indigenous peoples on International Human Rights Day


December 16, 2021

On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted and announced the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global decree of human rights. As a result, International Human Rights Day is observed and celebrated annually across the world on December 10th every year. This year’s theme is equality and it specifically calls on society to address the rights of Indigenous peoples, among other vulnerable populations.

Native people historically have faced epic oppression and violations of their human rights. When the first Europeans came to the Americas, it was inhabited by millions of sovereign Indigenous peoples. As more settlers arrived, Native people were relentlessly pushed out of their homelands. After the founding of the United States, laws were made to legally support expansion into Native lands at the expense of Native people. From 1778 to 1868, approximately 368 treaties were made between the United States and Indian nations. By 1900, all of those treaties had been broken.

Each time a treaty was made, Native people lost more land. Removal forced Native people to relocate to strange and unfamiliar lands where they were challenged to survive. During the 1800’s reservations were established, depriving Natives Peoples access to the basic democratic principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While confined to reservations, the 1883 Religious Crimes Code attempted to strip Native people of First Amendment protections of freedom of religion by banning ceremonies and religious practices. This made it legal for Indian reservation agents and superintendents to confiscate or destroy Native religious objects.


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