ative Americans of the Pacific Northwest in the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Populations


On 1 January 1994, the Mayan peoples of Chiapas, Mexico participated in an armed uprising in protest of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Following a strong trend of harassment, and mistreatment of Mexico’s indigenous populations, the implementation of NAFTA all but abolished the land claims of Mexico’s Indians. The Zapatista uprising, as it has been termed, brought global attention to the indigenous human rights violations in Mexico, and consequently, a strong interest in the plight of the world’s indigenous peoples resulted in the global community.

In a 1994 U.N. orchestrated commission on the rights of the world’s indigenous populations, it was concluded that an increase in international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous peoples was necessary for improvement of their condition across such areas as environment and natural resources, health, education, and human rights. As a result, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights declared the years 1995-2004 to be the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Populations. The theme of the decade was to be “partnership in action”, and the main objectives were to strengthen the role of the international community in enforcing international human rights treaties, to promote the discovery of viable solutions to Indigenous-State conflicts through
mediation, discussion, and cooperation, and to draft a declaration of the rights of indigenous people.

In this paper, I will analyze the amount of progress that has been made in the Native American condition in relation to U.S. government cooperation with the First Nations, with a specific focus on the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. I will begin with a brief, but comprehensive history of U.S.-Native American relations, with a focus on U.S. government policy. Next, I will conduct a case study of the...