Indigenous Water Rights

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP), recognizing their right to maintain “their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditional…lands, territories, waters and coastal seas”.  Yet last year also saw the violent defeat of Indigenous Americans in Standing Rock protecting their traditional lands and waters from construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Is there any reason to celebrate UN-DRIP’s 10-year milestone?  The world is still lagging in recognizing Indigenous rights, noted the official UN statement on the anniversary, but as Pamela Jacquelin-Andersen explains in this blogpost, without the UN declaration, things would be even worse.  UN-DRIP has clearly strengthened the legal standing of Indigenous communities in some instances (link to article in Cultural Survival Quarterly).