(U.S. President Barack Obama. Whitehouse.gov/Photo)
APTN National News
WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration would be supporting reversing position and supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Obama made the announcement while speaking at the Tribal Nations Congress which was organized by the White House.
“As you know, in April, we announced that we were reviewing our position on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to the declaration,” said Obama, according to a transcript of his speech.
Obama’s announcement follows a similar about face by Canada which announced last month that it would be endorsing the declaration.
Canada and the U.S. were the last holdouts on the declaration among countries that had voted against the documents. Australia and New Zealand have already endorsed the document.
In his speech, Obama said he was hoping his administration had reached a “turning point” in the relationship with Native Americans. He said the declaration affirmed aspirations he wanted his government to support.
“The aspirations (the declaration) affirms, including respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples, are one we must always seek to fulfill,” said Obama. “What matters far more than words, what matters far more than any resolution and declaration, are actions to match those words.”