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UNITED NATIONS OFFICIAL TO VISIT PINE RIDGE RESERVATION TO INVESTIGATE HOUSING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Bill Means
International Indian Treaty Council
Cell: 612-386-4030
Email: Bill.Means@state.mn.us

UNITED NATIONS OFFICIAL TO VISIT PINE RIDGE RESERVATION TO INVESTIGATE HOUSING
CONDITIONS

San Francisco, CA, October 11, 2009 ? The United Nations (UN) Special
Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, will visit the
Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on November 1st during her official
visit to the United States where she will be focusing on the human right to
housing. She will investigate conditions in public housing as well as
homelessness, the foreclosure crisis and the lingering impacts of Hurricane
Katrina. South Dakota is one of six states Ms. Rolnik will visit in addition
to Washington, D.C., during her official mission to the U.S. from October 23rd
? November 8th, 2009. Pine Ridge is her only scheduled visit to an Indian
reservation.

The Rappporteur’s visit will provide an opportunity for her to view housing
conditions on Pine Ridge, meet with tribal and community members and examine
the Treaty and Trust obligations of the U.S. Government to the Lakota and
other Indian Nations which includes housing, education, health and other
social services. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
adopted in 2007 by the UN General Assembly, affirms the international
character of these Treaty Rights and the obligations of countries to honor and
uphold them. Housing remains a significant problem on the Pine Ridge
reservation and throughout Indian Country. A preliminary report submitted to
the Rapporteur by the IITC in August of this year, included information
provided by the Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing authority (OSLH), and stated:

“?housing built and indirectly maintained by the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development (through thoroughly inadequate grants in aid to the
Lakota Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation) is in a deplorable state. Holes in
the wall are inadequately repaired by the residents with duct tape and
cardboard, mold is a constant menace to health, the units are severely
overcrowded, and trash is not collected, among many housing problems. The
Oglala Pine Ridge Reservation also raises another problem of many Indian
Reservations and their relationship to the United States. The Lakota Nation,
among other Indian Nations, is a party to treaties with the United States,
signed in the mid and late 1800’s. Among the United States Treaty Obligations
is the provision of subsistence and housing, guaranteed to them for their
stolen lands and the extermination of their primary means of subsistence, the
Buffalo”.
The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing was created by the UN
Commission on Human Rights in 2000 to examine and report back on the housing
situation in various countries in accordance with international human rights
obligations. The report on her first?time visit to the U.S. will be presented
to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2010.

American Indian, Alaska, Hawaiian Native and other Indigenous Peoples living
in the U.S. are invited to present information to the Rapporteur during her
visit to Pine Ridge and in the cities listed below. The National American
Indian Housing Council in Washington, D.C., is also hosting a policy briefing
for the Rapporteur on November 7th in which various Tribal and community
leaders will also participate.

For more information on the Pine Ridge visit contact: Bill Means, IITC,
612-386-4030, Bill.Means@state.mn.us, or Andrea Carmen, IITC, 907-745-4482,
andrea@treatycouncil.org.

For more information on the November 7th Indigenous Peoples Policy Briefing in
Washington, D.C. contact: Wendy Helgamo, National American Indian Housing
Council, 202-789-1754, whelgemo@NAIHC.NET.

Lead Organizers and Contact Information for other Site Visits:

Chicago: Willie J.R. Fleming, Coalition to Protect Public Housing at
iamcabrini@gmail.com

Los Angeles: Becky Dennison, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) at
BeckyD@cangress.org

New Orleans: Sam Jackson, Mayday New Orleans at jackson-action@hotmail.com

New York: Rob Robinson, Picture the Homeless at rob@picturethehomeless.org

Wilkes Barre: Frank Sindaco at frank@nepaorganizingcenter.org

You may also contact Tiffany Gardner, Human Right to Housing Program Director
at NESRI (National Economic and Social Rights Initiative) for general
information about the UN Rapporteur’s upcoming visit to the United States,
tiffany@nesri.org.

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