I wrote here (“Frustration Building” May 30 2006) about a Center for World Indigenous Studies sponsored plan in the Spring of 1992 for the organization of a Congress of Nations and State as a response to the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I wrote two-years ago:
“In 1992, immediately after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, the Center for World Indigenous Studies was invited by then
president of the Supreme Soviet, Ruslan Kasbulatov, to consult with the
withered Russian government on appropriate approaches to dealing with
the 150 non-Russian peoples remaining with the Russians in what was
left of the USSR. We suggested that Russia, Germany, Japan and the
United States of America join ten Fourth World nations including the
San Blas Kuna of Central America, Tibet, Sami of Scandinavia, Massai of
southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Lummi of the United States of
America, the Crimean Tartar and others in a planning body to organize
an international Congress of Nations and States in Moscow.
The Russian government and the government of Germany were open to working
with the ten indigenous nations to plan, organize and convene this
unprecedented Congress of States and Nations at a venue in Moscow.
…The United States, under the leadership of President George H.W. Bush,
held back and finally opposed this hopeful effort at establishing
dialogue between Fourth World nations and the world’s states’
governments on a peaceful approach to long and festering conflicts….”
The point of the Congress of Nations and States was to avoid, and indeed, provide an alternative to state and nation conflicts or state to state conflicts over nations and their territories. Precisely the situation now presented by Abkhasia and South Ossetia. The situation involving Russian violence against Chechnya is another situation that could have been avoided.
The current US Administration has been simply inept in its foreign policies. The next administration may be better. European, some Asian and a number of Arab and African states may well be open to convening an historic Congress to reorganize international efforts to address flash-points that involve indigenous nations. Since the UN adopted on 13 September 2007 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a new basis for a Congress of Nations and States has now be created. The Russian/Georgian kerfuffle provides an opportunity for a bold initiative.
While it is quite clear that Russia is using South Ossetia and Abkhazia to justify a deeper effort to gain control over Georgia, this is still an opportunity to find a solution to a persistent threat to the peace.
A Congress of Nations and States offers all parties an opportunity to define an approach to stabilizing international relations when indigenous peoples are involved. As I suggested in 1992 and again in 2006, states and nations have a responsibility to come to the table and work out new structures for peaceful relations.
(c) 2008 Center for World Indigenous Studies
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here