A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step towards combating continuing and systemic racial discrimination.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by the tribes.
Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and "numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination".
Racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education, Anaya said. "For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way Native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching," he said.