Indigenizing Self-Determination at the United Nations: Reparative Progress in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Add to your calendar

Presented by Dr Miranda Johnson

Lectures, talks and seminars

History Programme Seminar

16th Aug 2019 12:10pm to 16th Aug 2019 1:30pm

Old Kirk 406 (F L W Wood Seminar Room)

Dr. Miranda Johnson speaks about ‘Reparative Progress in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’.

When the United Nations General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September 2007, it introduced into the international legal lexicon a new dimension to the concept of self-determination.

The declaration emphasizes indigenous peoples’ distinctive rights to land, culture, language, and collective identity, as well as their equal rights of citizenship within existing nation-states. It does not propose political independence or sovereign statehood. The distinct dimension of self-determination the declaration introduces is one that speaks of indigenous peoples’ particular colonial histories of dispossession and the restoration of their rights and identities in the present, but without rupturing the sense of continuity of colonial societies. It is reparative rather than revolutionary. It demands a different kind of story-telling and invites alternative theories of political change.

In this article, Dr Johnson examines the construction and contestation of an indigenous right to self-determination both in relation to earlier definitions, and among and between the peoples and states who drafted the declaration.

For more information contact: Dr Cybèle Locke

Speaker Bios

Dr. Miranda Johnson is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. A historian of the modern Pacific world, focusing on colonial, Indigenous, and cross-cultural histories, she is the author of the prize-winning book The Land Is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-editor with Warwick Anderson and Barbara Brookes of Pacific Futures: Past and Present (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018).