TONY BLACK FEATHER
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Tony Black Feather passed away peacefully on August 10th, 2004, aged 70, in his beloved Sacred Black Hills, his home in the community of Wolf Creek, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. U.S.A. Mr Black Feather has been one of the founders of the defending of the traditional Lakota people, and upholding the 1868 Treaty signed on a nation-nation basis with the United States in 1868.
Mr Black Feather was a member of the Indigenous World Association, and held a United Nations card, which recognised him as being acknowledged as one of the 1,500 who are part of the U.N Permanent Forum. He always spoke the Lakota language at U.N meetings, using an interpreter.
Mr Black Feather became involved in treaty work 30 years ago, and has devoted his life to campaigning for his people and trying to bring awareness as to the plight of the Lakota people. He also tried to highlight the problems that all indigenous peoples face, and started out in earnest with his 'Treaty Work' (his own words), with Garfield Grass Rope, undertaking a trip to Geneva, Switzerland a few years ago.
Mr Black Feather had a pro-active voice and involvement in the effort to get the 'Declaration of Indigenous People's Rights' adopted by the United Nations. His dearest wish was to see this come to fruition in September of this year, and that along with the Elders, see the Lakota people protected by Human Rights International Law. Sadly he did not live long enough to witness this.
He always felt that it was so important for the Native schools to teach students their native language, and Lakota was the first language he was taught by his parents.
Tony Black Feather will especially remembered and missed by the members of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). UNPO is a democratic, international membership organization. Its members are indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories who have joined together to protect their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts, which affect them. UNPO provides a legitimate and established international forum for member aspirations and assists its members in effective participation at an international level.
Although UNPO members have different goals and aspirations, they share one condition – they are not represented in major international fora, such as the United Nations. As a result, their ability to participate in the international community and to have their concerns addressed by the global bodies mandated to protect human rights and address conflict is limited.
by Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization