News and Updates from Dr. Dawn

August 5, 2019

Dr. McBride supports the following statement from NAISA - in Support of Indigenous Children, Adults and Families on the Guatemala/Mexico/United States Borders

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) expresses its deep concern regarding the situation of Indigenous children, adults and families seeking asylum and refuge outside Mexico and Central America. As is already internationally known, they have been subject to violent and inhumane maltreatment on Guatemala-Mexico and Mexico-United States borders. In this regard, we echo what was recently denounced by Maya scholars in their “Open Letter” (May 31, 2019) to the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. As stated in their letter, “Since December 2018, five Maya children have died under the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the U.S.-Mexico border, and one under the custody of the Mexican immigration officials in Mexico City.” This situation calls for an immediate action of reparation by the states involved in these unfortunate events as well as an effective investigation of these and other abuses, especially by international human rights organizations.

In compliance with our mission as a scholarly organization dedicated to Indigenous knowledge and ethics, the Council condemns the exercise of state violence against Indigenous children, adults and families who already suffer from social, economic, cultural and racial inequality in their countries of origin. We urge governmental and non-governmental agencies from the region and the larger international community to guarantee the fundamental human and civil rights of Indigenous children, adults and families; to prohibit the racial profiling, incarceration, and criminalization of asylum seekers; to facilitate humanitarian emergency medical aid in the case of asylum seekers who have endured bodily and psychological traumas during this process; to immediately stop the practice of fostering or “adopting out” detained children by U.S. families; to halt the dismemberment of Indigenous families; to facilitate the reunification of children with their parents or caretakers; to ensure that Indigenous asylum seekers are provided with the human and technological means for interpretation in Indigenous languages in immigrant detention centers and courts, as demanded by Article 13.1 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; to ensure that Indigenous asylum seekers are granted their right of due process;  and, above all, to respect and protect their linguistic, cultural, physical and spiritual integrity in compliance with Indigenous Rights and universal humanitarian principles.

Furthermore, we remind the United States, Mexican and Guatemalan authorities that their nation-state “borders” have been set on native or tribal lands. For that reason, they should stop the militarization of these territories as well as any form of intrusion that undermines the principle of self-determination and disturbs the collective life of the Indigenous Peoples on their lands. Finally, it must be highlighted that the countries involved in the ongoing deployment of border violence are either signatories or supporters of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the U.N. Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967), and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Therefore, we urge them to act accordingly.

As an academic organization that brings together an important community of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from the aforementioned regions, we express our firm support to our members who are enduring the suffering of their Peoples. We invite all of our members and other scholarly societies to demand that state authorities and agents cease inflicting ill treatment against Indigenous children, adults and families and that they remain nationally and internationally accountable for their actions on the borders of the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.

Respectfully,

Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

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