James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, will begin an investigation into the human rights situation of Native Americans, according to the Guardian. A special rapporteur is appointed by the United Nations and receives logistical and operational support, but operates financially independently.
The United States became signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010. In a press release from the United Nations office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Anaya said, "My visit aims at assessing how the standards of the Declaration are reflected in U.S. law and policy and identifying needed reforms and good practices."
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Anaya will travel around America between April 23 and May 4 to conduct investigations in Washington, D.C., Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. He will present his findings to a future meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The United States has a checkered, bloody history with its native population, portions of which it denied full citizenship rights until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.
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The New York Daily News wrote that the US is still in legal wrangles, mostly over land and broken treaties, with a number of tribes. Just earlier this month, the government agreed to a settlement worth over $1 billion with 41 different tribes. Dozens of other tribes remain are still pursuing lawsuits.
The paper wrote that "centuries of oppression" have left Native Americans with high rates of alcoholism, joblessness, and crime, and low education rates.