- A new book by a Charles Sturt University expert explores the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- It projects a potential post-colonial world that offers indigenous peoples equal and distinctive liberal rights
- This examination supports more inclusive ways of thinking about how citizenship and democracy may work better
A new book by a Charles Sturt University political science expert posits a post-colonial world that offers indigenous peoples equal and distinctive liberal rights, where equality and difference are compatible, fair and reasonable.
‘We Are All Here to Stay’ - Citizenship, Sovereignty and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by Professor of Political Science Dominic O’Sullivan in the Charles Sturt School of Humanities and Social Sciences is published by ANU Press (2020). Professor O'Sullivan is also a member of the Charles Sturt Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS).
The book takes as its fulcrum the September 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which 144 UN member states voted to adopt, but Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US were the only members to vote against it (though each eventually changed its position).
“In the book I examine indigenous and state critiques of the Declaration but argue that, ultimately, it is an instrument of significant transformative potential showing how state sovereignty need not be a power that is exercised over and above indigenous peoples,” Professor O’Sullivan said.
“Nor is it reasonably a power that displaces indigenous nations’ authority over their own affairs.
“The Declaration shows how and why, and this book argues that in doing so, it supports more inclusive ways of thinking about how citizenship and democracy may work better.
“‘We Are All Here to Stay’ examines what the Declaration could mean for sovereignty, citizenship and democracy in liberal societies such as Australia, New Zealand and the US, and it takes Canadian Chief Justice Lamer’s remark that ‘we are all here to stay’ to mean that indigenous peoples are ‘here to stay’ as indigenous.”
Professor O’Sullivan explores indigenous rights and sovereignty, and introduces alternative indigenous interpretations of their meaning. He contests the idea that sovereignty is an absolute and indivisible authority vested in the State.
“I explore the tension over what it means to be equal, and what it means to be an indigenous citizen,” he said.
“I argue that while colonialism cannot be reversed, noncolonial political relationships should be pursued.
“This book contributes to effort to redefine and reimagine how liberal political systems will morph and accommodate indigenous rights, and how countries, like Australia, will reckon with their colonial pasts and present.”
‘We Are All Here to Stay’ - Citizenship, Sovereignty and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is published by and can be purchased from ANU Press.
Print copies may be purchased and free electronic copies downloaded can also be obtained there.