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Delegation from Represented by

The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School


Position Paper for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The following issues are before the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:
Indigenous Youth in Urban Communities and Promoting Indigenous Health in Australia. The
Pacific and Oceania Region notices the socio-economic and health-related needs of indigenous
people and will continue to advocate for the right to equal opportunity and healthcare. We
support all resolutions that promote involvement in urban communities, yet reaffirm the
indigenous right to self-determination.
I. Indigenous Youth in Urban Communities
Discrimination of aboriginal peoples in urban communities instigated by prolonged neglect of
indigenous culture has had a profound impact on the lifestyles of subsequent aboriginal
populations. Minimal social involvement, lack of cultural identity, and lingering prejudice hassle
many middle aged aboriginals into a life of illicit drug use and criminal activity.
1
Ensuring the
success of aboriginal youth is essential to the mitigation of many problems that indigenous
peoples encounter; with awareness of these problems, the Pacific and Oceania Region believes in
the integration of indigenous culture into local and urban communities to further encourage
acceptance and develop sustainable relationships seen in indigenous peoples of Hawaii.
Since the spread of western culture during the Age of Discovery in the 1600s, aboriginal
peoples in this region have faced decades of mistreatment. Although the establishment of
indigenous reserves and protected land aims to protect cultures and their heritage, the success of
western cultures pressure aboriginal youth to pursue lives in urban communities.
The Pacific and Oceania Region overlooks 14 UN member states and around 27
dependencies including Australia, New Zealand, Tuvalu, Tonga, Kiribati, New Caledonia, and

1
Indigenous Children and Youth, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuideIPleaflet9en.pdf. (May 6, 2013)
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
Hawaii.
2
Problemsincluding economic, social, cultural and health relatedin this region
remain serious, mainly in the countries of Australia and New Zealand.
In the late 1800s to around 1969, Australian Federal, State, and Territory government
agencies forcibly removed aboriginal children from their families and sent them to be adopted by
non-indigenous families for racial assimilation.
3
The forced removal of this generationtermed
the Stolen Generationsirrevocably broke cultural connections and set the norm for aboriginal
mistreatment. My mother and brother could speak our language and my father could speak his. I
can't speak my language. Aboriginal people weren't allowed to speak their language while white
people were around. They had to go out into the bush or talk their lingoes on their own
(Confidential Submission from Queensland, Australia)
4
Many children were encouraged to
abandon and deny aboriginal heritage for western ideals.
5
The 1975 Racial Discrimination Act
became the first key piece of legislation for aboriginal Australians, ensuring equal opportunity
for people of all backgrounds and outlawing discrimination against people on the basis of race,
color, descent and national or ethnic origin.
6
Yet, in 2007, Australia voted against the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)although endorsed in
2009 and has not ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169,
dealing with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.
7
Furthermore, they enacted the
Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) which prompted evidence of abuse and

2
Member Countries, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, http://www.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/about-us/member-
countries/
3
The History of the Stolen Generations, NSDC, http://www.nsdc.org.au/stolen-generations/history-of-the-stolen-
generations/the-history-of-the-stolen-generations
4
Ibid.
5
Ibid.
6
Race Discrimination, Australian Human Rights Commission, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-
work/legal/legislation#rda
7
Convention No. 169, International Labour Organization, http://www.ilo.org/indigenous/Conventions/no169/lang--
en/index.htm
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
potential neglect of children in indigenous communities and town camps in the Northern
Territory, overriding the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975.
8

Indigenous people of New Zealandknown as the Morimake up 14.9% of the
population, or around 598,605 persons; 50% of the prison population identify to be Mori ethnic
or of Mori decent.
9
The life expectancy of Mori populations is almost 10 years less than non-
Mori populations
10
and although the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi
11
assured equal standards of
health care and health outcomes indigenous youth in New Zealand do not have equitable
access to appropriate health care compared to non-indigenous youth.
12
According to the
National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) Mori youth, ages 15 to 24, had a suicide
attempt rate of 43.7% for males and 18.8% for females compared to 18% of non-indigenous
males and 9.1% of non-indigenous females.
13
Despite these issues, New Zealand is also involved
in a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that will restrict intellectual property
laws and raises concerns regarding Mori rights and accessibility of affordable healthcare.
On the other hand, successful socio-economic involvement allows indigenous peoples of
Hawaii to prosper as a culture. Hawaiian indigenous people, or the Kanaka Maoli, represent
around 20% of the 1.2 million people who reside on the 137 islands, atolls, and reefs of Ka Pae
Aina o Hawaii (the Hawaiian Archipelago). Although researchers believe they have the poorest
health in the state, in comparison to other aborigines in the Oceania region, Kanaka Maoli
receive and benefit from infrastructures put up by the state. One of the only major problems for

8
The Indigenous World, IWGIA, Australia 198-203 (IWGA: 25 May 2013),
http://www.iwgia.org/iwgia_files_publications_files/0613_EB-THE_INDIGENOUS_ORLD_2013.pdf
9
Ibid.
10
2013 Census QuickStats about Mori, Statistics New Zealand, http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census.aspx
11
The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand Ministry of Justice, http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/waitangi-
tribunal/treaty-of-waitangi
12
Social Networks and Health, Journal of Aboriginal Health Volume 7, (JAH: March 2011)
http://www.naho.ca/documents/journal/jah07_01/07_01_complete.pdf
13
Ibid.
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
indigenous youth is obesity; 19% of youth are considered to be obese compared to 15% of non-
indigenous youth in the state.
14
Many years after the illegal overthrow of their Queen
Liliuokalani, Hawaii was annexed to the United States and stands as the 50
th
state of the United
Stated of America. Aside from the few who continue to resent western culture,
15
indigenous
peoples in Hawaii continue to thrive with the Unites States endorsement of the UNDRIP in
2010 and local declarations such as the Palapala Paoakalani,
16
which allows equal opportunity
and right to self-determination. In 2011 the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit
was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, allowing the unification of indigenous peoples across the Oceania
region under the Moana Nui conference; major groups at the convention included Mori of
Aotearoa (New Zealand), Maohi of Tahiti, Rapa Nui, Aboriginals of Australia, First Nations of
Canada, and Ainu of Japan. The Moana Nui conference aimed to initiate and promote an era of
engagement among indigenous peoples of Oceania. It will chart a path, we will talk together to
end alienation of our lands and ourselves said Professor Jon Osorio of the University of Hawaii
Manoa. The establishment of Kamehameha Schools in 1887 promoted prestigious education for
indigenous peoples; as of 2012, Kamehameha had an enrollment of 5,398 students at its three
main campuses as well as 1,317 children enrolled in preschools around the state. Kamehameha
schools have served an estimated 46,923 indigenous Hawaiians in 2011 alone for support of
public education and families throughout Hawaii. The integration of Hawaiian culture into the
local school system promotes respect and understanding of indigenous youth; community lead
conservation efforts, and local respect for indigenous lands allow for the successful protection of
Kanaka Maoli culture.

14
Native Hawaiian Health Factsheet Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 2011
http://www.oha.org/health/downloads/2011NativeHawaiianHealthFactSheet.pdf
15
Ibid.
16
Paoakalani Declaration. Web. http://kaahapono.com/PaoakalaniDeclaration05.pdf
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
As stated earlier by the Journal of Aboriginal Health, indigenous youth around the world
do not have equitable access to appropriate health care. Many countries have developed
programs to provide for the socio-economic and health related problems of aboriginal peoples,
yet fail to create the infrastructure or reason to access these subsidies; thus, aboriginal
populations do not take advantage of available aid. The Pacific and Oceania region believes that
youth involvement in both community and politics is necessary to reduce the problems that
indigenous peoples encounter; by soliciting for their own community to accept aid and providing
equitable access to subsidies, indigenous youth will be able to prosper in urban communities.
II. Promoting Indigenous Health in Australia
The Pacific and Oceania regionincluding Australianotices the grave health conditions of its
indigenous people. Australias indigenous population is around 2.5% of the population, or
520,000 individuals; health problems remain a big crisis, with high indigenous infant mortality
around 10 to 15% and short life expectancy.
17
According to the Australian Bureau of
Statistics (ABS) life expectancy is currently estimated to be 69.1 years for aboriginal males and
73.7 years for aboriginal females which is 10.6 years less than the life expectancy for non-
indigenous males and 9.5 years less than non-indigenous females.
18
"The figures show that the
gap in life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-
Indigenous people has narrowed [since previous years], but only slightly," said Bjorn Jarvis,
ABS director of demography.
19
Along with health issues, aboriginal Australians also deal with
illicit drug and substance abuse.

17
The Indigenous World, IWGIA, 198-203 (IWGA: 25 May 2013),
http://www.iwgia.org/iwgia_files_publications_files/0613_EB-THE_INDIGENOUS_ORLD_2013.pdf
18
Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, ABS, (2012)
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/3302.0.55.003Media%20Release12010-2012
19
Ibid.
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
Programs such as The National Aboriginal Health Strategy of 1990 aimed to aid
aboriginal people with health care and allow aboriginals to take control of their own health.
20

This initiative never took root in indigenous populations because of their strong belief in cultural
remedies and the lack of medical knowledge; aboriginal people do not trust, and are not aware of
the benefits of provided health care. Without encouraging indigenous peoples to accept
healthcare, such initiatives will quickly fade and become unreasonable resolutions to the current
health problem. To implement any health related program, there needs to be a general
acknowledgement of western healthcare and medicine through education.
In the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Bishop Foundation and Kamehameha Schools has
provided education for youth of Hawaiian decent. These programs allow indigenous Hawaiians
to be aware of benefits from health care, and although Hawaiian people have lower health rates
that the American National Average, people have a higher accessibility than the current
aboriginal Australian population.
21

Youth of aboriginal peoples often find themselves with two identities: the cultural belief
that they are aboriginal, and the pressure to be successful in urban/western community. By
encouraging these removed aboriginal youth to propagate the benefits of healthcare through
education, aboriginal people may support provided health care, social involvement, employment,
and other remedies. The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) provides
educational opportunity for aboriginal Australians. Education is the single biggest factor
preventing better Indigenous employment and career outcomes says AIEF Chairman, Warren
Mundine.
22
This program aims to create a long-term, low-cost and sustainable Indigenous
education program in a framework of highly effective management, transparency and

20
Aboriginal Health in Australia
21
Native Hawaiian Health Fact Sheet
22
The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation AIEF, 2014, http://www.aief.com.au/
Delegation from Represented by
The Pacific and Oceania Region Kealakehe High School
accountability
23
and 93% of all students who graduated through the AIEF Scholarship Program
were able pursue further education or enroll in vocational training and find employment.
Although the Australian Government should endorse healthcare programs for indigenous
people, our priority should be to educate aborigines to acknowledge health care and other health
related remedies. By advocating for education of indigenous people, the awareness and
acceptance will allow failed programs such as the National Aboriginal Health Strategy to
succeed.

23
Ibid.