Principles for Environmental Restoration
and Sustainable Development
of the Haudenosaunee in North America
Fundamental human rights and intellectual property rights of the Haudenosaunee people must be protected.
- Chapter 26 of Agenda 21 formulated at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit recognizes the right of the indigenous communities and their representatives to undertake reviews as well as develop environmental strategies with regard to land and water based pollution.
- Where environmental pollution created is transboundary in nature, originating in one state or jurisdiction and causing harmful impacts on another, it is the responsibility of individual indigenous organizations to address this damage and develop necessary steps to reduce the damage.
- Haudenosaunee communities have been impacted with environmental pollution created by surrounding industries and settlements. This environmental strategy of the Haudenosaunee constitutes the first comprehensive indigenous response to Chapter 26 of Agenda 21.
- As specified in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Human Environment, states have a responsibility to ensure that their activities do not cause environmental damage beyond their own jurisdiction. States also have a duty to cooperate to further develop the international law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of transboundary pollution and other environmental damage.
- A critical issue which requires addressing is the existing relationship between the industries and the indigenous communities. Such an issue calls for constructive approaches and measures to emphasize both `prevention/cure' and `cause/effect'.
- The environmental pollution the Haudenosaunee people have been subjected to requires comprehensive restoration and development of preventative environmental measures at community, Nation and Confederacy levels.
- The restoration must not be confined just to removing the wastes and pollution, but must also be extended to the social and cultural dimensions of the communities, the nations and the Confederacy.
- Multi-disciplinary approaches to ecosystem recovery are necessary at international, national and regional levels.
- Any project dealing with environmental pollution in indigenous territories must recognize and cooperate with the affected indigenous residents and community, and in the process show due respect to indigenous culture and tradition.
- In order to address the mounting pollution problems, relevant Haudenosaunee research programs currently in progress must be supported and new investigative research must be designed and carried out on a continuous basis, directed by the Haudenosaunee.
- The Haudenosaunee must establish community, national and international standards, and these standards need to be recognized and respected in order that the Haudenosaunee can participate and have a meaningful voice in the international regulatory community.
- Councils of individual nations of the Haudenosaunee must play a primary role in the restoration and development process of indigenous lands. Partnership and collaboration with the United States Government and its federal agencies, the Canadian Government and its federal agencies, the United Nations and its Programmes, and other international organizations such as the Agenda 21 Forum, Indigenous Development International, and Global Green USA are essential in redressing the environmental disasters.
- Haudenosaunee have a fundamental right and responsibility to participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting any aspect of the environment impacting significantly on their territories. Haudenosaunee should have a respected voice and more influence regarding environmental issues.
- As sovereign governments, the Haudenosaunee have complete jurisdiction over native territories. The Haudenosaunee jurisdiction should extend cooperatively to the surrounding areas that impact the ecosystem of the native territories.
- The United States and Canada should commit themselves to implement legislation that bans any transboundary or transnational pollution. Industries and polluters of lands and waters in and around the territories are liable for damages. The restoration of damaged elements of ecosystems on native territories must be a cooperative effort between industry, government and the affected Nation. Furthermore other governments must acknowledge and recognize the Haudenosaunee right to exercise jurisdiction in deciding whether to accept nuclear and other toxic and noxious wastes, or develop waste-processing enterprises in lands and territories of the Haudenosaunee. The Onondaga Nation has already declared itself a nuclear-free zone. The Council at Grand River territory has banned the importation of toxic substances.
- Haudenosaunee should be assured adequate international legal resources that must ensure that the U.S. and Canadian legal systems recognize a right to full compensation for collective and individual damages from the effects of environmental pollution.
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