The first United Nations Conference on Indians in the Americas was held in Geneva in 1977.

It was organised by Jimmie Durham, head of the International Indian Treaty Council, with Mapuche leaders exiled from Chile under Pinochet and supported by the American activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.[1]

The lobbyists went on to set up a formal working group, but the United Nations widened its scope from the Americas to indigenous peoples of the world.[2] The conference was therefore seen as the first UN conference on Indigenous Peoples.[3][4]

After a further thirty years of campaigning, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007. It was opposed only by the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.[4]


  1. ^ Hylton, Forrest. "A Revolutionary Identity". Review of Dunbar-Ortiz' Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra Years. Monthly Review. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Jones, Arthur (Feb 4, 1994). "Indigenous poor still exploited, but now at least they are heard". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Rahman, Khan Ferdousour. "Rights of indigenous people". The Financial Express. International Publications Limited, Dhaka. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "History Is Made For Indigenous Peoples At United Nations" (PDF). IITC. September 16, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2011-07-20.