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American Indian Treaties Portal, 2013.

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Copyright 2013, the authors. Used by permission.


Indigenous societies around the world are stepping forward to assert their place as an equal partner in their nation’s future. In many cases, these efforts have been undertaken in response to the development and the 2007 publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as endorsed by the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations. Governments also have begun to reconsider their stance on the associated issues. The digital texts of 189 international constitutions – as offered by the Constitute Web site – were examined for occurrences of the four tokens indigenous, aboriginal, and Indian or Indians to yield country indices. Documents from forty countries were found to contain the term indigenous and seven possessed aboriginal (N uses = 320 and 19, respectively). The more familiar token Indian, or its plural, occurred 88 times in ten of these political affirmations.