The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that the right to self-determination for Indigenous peoples involves their having the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development. The implementation of this right is linked to the ability and freedom to participate in any decision making that relates to their development. Current laws and practices are considered “unfair to women,” because they sustain traditional and customary patriarchal attitudes that marginalize Indigenous women and exclude them from decision-making tables and leadership roles. Despite the many challenges Indigenous women face in their efforts to participate in decision making and take on leadership roles, cases from the past prove that engaging more Indigenous women in negotiations and initiatives can safeguard their rights and the rights of all peoples.



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