Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on February 26 1997 at its 1333rd session, 95th regular
2. Indigenous peoples have the collective rights that are indispensable to the enjoyment of the
individual human rights of their members. Accordingly the states recognize inter alia the
right of the indigenous peoples to collective action, to their cultures, to profess and practice
their spiritual beliefs, and to use their languages.
3. The states shall recognize and respect indigenous ways of life, customs, traditions, forms
of social, economic and political organization, institutions, practices, beliefs and values, use of
dress, and languages.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to indigenous languages, philosophy and outlook as a
component of national and universal culture, and as such, shall respect them and facilitate their
2. The states shall take measures and ensure that broadcast radio and television programs are
broadcast in the indigenous languages in the regions where there is a strong indigenous presence,
and to support the creation of indigenous radio stations and other media.
3. The states shall take effective measures to enable indigenous peoples to understand
dministrative, legal and political rules and procedures, and to be understood in relation to these
matters. In areas where indigenous languages are predominant, states shall endeavor to establish the
pertinent languages as official languages and to give them the same status that is given to
non-indigenous official languages.
2. When indigenous peoples so decide, educational systems shall be conducted in the indigenous
languages and incorporate indigenous content, and they shall also be provided with the necessary
training and means for complete mastery of the official language or languages.
3. In the jurisdiction of any state, procedures concerning indigenous peoples or their interests
shall be conducted in such a way as to ensure the right of indigenous peoples to full representation
with dignity and equality before the law. This shall include observance of indigenous law and custom
and, where necessary, use of their language.
Source: The full
text version of the Draft Declaration can be found at the Internet
site of the Organization of American States.