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Dr. Cornel West Honors the Lives, Culture, and Sovereignty of Indigenous People on Turtle Island and the World Over and Announces New Policy Prescriptions to Establish and Increase Trust and Cooperation


Monday, October 9, 2023
Cornel West for President
[email protected]

Let us start with the undeniable and irrefutable truth that we live on lands that were stolen from the people Indigenous to Turtle Island. The impacts of Anglo-Settler colonialism are still felt to this day here and, as we are currently witnessing with great heartbreak, around the world. We also need to be clear that tawdry ‘investments’ in Indigenous communities via milquetoast policies of the duopoly are a drop in the bucket. The truth is, while real investments in these communities are warranted, no amount of money can ever ameliorate the great harms of brutal land theft, genocide, and occupation still experienced by Indigenous people.  

While our campaign continues to develop more specific and robust policy prescriptions to address the myriad challenges faced by Indigenous folk and their communities, it is clear that they need to be rooted in the codification of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Already recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, FPIC requires nation-states to “consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” 

But we all know that words and declarations in themselves are not close to enough to ensure these ideals are exercised and realized through verifiable and measurable metrics established, maintained, and amended by and for Indigenous peoples. To this end, today I’m pleased to announce that as president, I will establish a Federal Office for Tribal Equity and Liberation. 

This office will be charged with guiding and assisting me with confronting and dismantling challenges specific to our Indigenous siblings - from access to clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment, to ending the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, to ensuring that all treaties are upheld and respected in ways that are perpetually monitored and evaluated to increase justice and maximum efficacy. This office will also inform my administration on the best and most expeditious ways to codify and enforce FPIC, as well as the Land Back Commission I’m committed to forming as part of my Policy Pillars for a Movement Rooted in Truth, Love, and Justice

Moreover, as part of the codification and implementation of FPIC, pursuant to Article 32 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, it shall be the policy of my administration that should an Indigenous community, through their discretion, democratically consent to the extraction of critical and all resources from their sovereign lands, the people’s Bureau of Land Management, as well as the Departments of the Interior, Justice, Commerce, and Treasury will develop and implement rules that require a percentage of all profits generated from these resources, as determined by a given Indigenous community, are allocated such that they be redistributed to said community at their direct and independent discretion. 

If we are genuine about the rightful celebration of Indigenous lives, culture and sovereignty, then we must be collectively accountable to our declarations, proclamations and commitments to increasing trust and cooperation between the US government and sovereign Indigenous nations. 

It’s been said that trust is established when people embark on and complete successful initiatives together. My administration will seek to commence these initiatives through the guidance of Indigenous communities and collectives including, but certainly not limited to, Giniw Collective, led by my brilliant sister Tara Houska and her incredible team of water protectors and social justice organizers, and the Indigenous Environmental Network led by my brother Tom Goldtooth and his incredible staff of justice seekers and scholars. 

I urge you to support these Indigenous-led groups and others, today and perpetually, and their righteous work that invites and pushes all in the direction of right relationship with the planet and each other through tenets of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, as well as Traditional Indigenous Knowledge

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