Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Identity, Knowledge, Strength and Rights: Self determination and The Right to be Well (#15)

Moana Jackson 1
  1. Ngā Kaiwhakamārama i ngā Ture, Wellington, New Zealand

Article 3 – United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples -
Indigenous peoples have the right of self determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

During the Drafting of the United Nations Declaration throughout the 1990’s it was accepted by all indigenous representatives that the right of self determination was the core human right from which all others flowed. The right of Indigenous Peoples to determine their own destiny was seen as fundamental to the right and ability to define everything else in their lives – their sense of identity, the meaning of their culture, the very ability to be well.

Although the right of self determination might sometimes be seen only as a right at international law, or even as just a political right it is much more fundamental. It is the sense of right-ness which Indigenous Peoples find in the stories in their land and the wisdom of their elders. It sums up the essence of belonging to a place and the identity which makes all indigenous Peoples unique. It is the papa or bedrock allowing Indigenous Peoples to be free and to find well-being in their own uniqueness.

This Presentation will explore what the right of self determination means within an indigenous legal and moral framework and how it might be used to strengthen and promote the identity and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.