Remarks at a Third Committee General Discussion on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Nicholas Hill
Deputy Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
October 12, 2022


Thank you very much. Today, there are over 400 million Indigenous peoples living in approximately 90 countries. Neither lasting progress nor peace will be achieved unless Indigenous voices are part of the discussion and decision-making process. Indigenous peoples must be respected as equal partners in policy development and implementation.

If we are to truly partner with global Indigenous leaders and communities to gain the necessary perspective and knowledge for our development as an inclusive society, then we must start by showing humility in consulting with members of Indigenous communities. This starts with acknowledging the tragic aspects of our own history, listening, and truly understanding the structural barriers that have excluded Indigenous peoples.

The United States is taking concrete steps to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. We are strengthening the Nation-to-Nation Dialogue between Tribal and U.S. Government entities and reinvigorating the White House Tribal Nations Summit.

At the August 2022 session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we outlined our efforts to promote justice and equity for Indigenous peoples. These efforts include highlighting federal responsibilities toward Indigenous communities, the U.S. government’s role in the federal Indian boarding school system, and environmental and natural resource projections.

We recognize that collaboration between law enforcement agencies, tribal governments, families of the missing, and international partners is needed. The July 2022 Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls is an example of effective law enforcement cooperation between Canada, Mexico, and the United States to this end.

Domestically, the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice established a Joint Commission on reducing violent crime against American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Through the 2021 Native Languages Memorandum of Agreement, U.S. agencies work to protect, preserve, and promote Native languages.

Tribal lands are among the most digitally disconnected areas in the United States. We are working to close the digital divide and increase internet access across U.S. Indigenous

communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a $65 billion investment to expand affordable high-speed internet to communities across the United States.

The United States is committed to advancing the well-being and resilience of Indigenous peoples, and we will continue to make progress.

Thank you.