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Kawenniiostha Karla General Addresses the 24th United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland


Kawenniiostha Karla General at the United Nations Building in Geneva. Photo courtesy of Rowena General.

Biography submitted by Rowena General

Karla General made a statement during the Human Rights Council 24th Session Half-Day Discussion On Indigenous Peoples September 17, 2013. The Indian Law Resource Center’s website provided the full text of what she said:

“Thank you Mr. President,

I am honored to speak here, exactly 90 years after my great-grandfather, Chief Deskaheh, traveled to Geneva from the Six Nations Confederacy to bring attention to human rights violations against his people. I come before you today with a similar goal: concrete measures to help end violations of indigenous rights.

Recommendations for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples should have the support of authentic indigenous governments and peoples. Recommendations should be few and focused, reasonable, and workable for the United Nations. They should be lasting, and improve the lives of indigenous peoples.

More than 70 indigenous governments and organizations have submitted three such major recommendations for action by the World Conference.

First, the United Nations should establish a new body with authority to promote implementation, monitor states’ actions for compliance, and make recommendations to achieve the objectives of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Second, three steps should be taken to address violence against indigenous women: (i) convening a high-level conference to examine challenges to securing the safety and well-being of indigenous women and children; (ii) requiring that the United Nations body for monitoring and implementing the Declaration give particular attention to this issue; and (iii) appointing a Special Rapporteur on human rights issues of indigenous women and children.

Finally, action should be taken to provide indigenous peoples and governments a new status for participating in United Nations activities -- a permanent status that reflects their character as peoples and their authority as governments, so that they do not have to call themselves NGOs or civil society organizations.

These recommendations reinforce the spirit and intent of this discussion. The full text of these recommendations is available on our website, Thank you.”


On January 19, 2012, Kawenniiostha Karla E. General was admitted to the New York State Bar Association by the State Supreme Court Justices of the Appellate Division, Third Department in Albany, NY.

In May 2010, Karla was awarded a Juris Doctor Degree with a specialization in Global Law & Practice from Syracuse University College of Law. She was also awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.

In May 2007, Karla was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude (Latin Honors), in Sociology and Government from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. A Presidential Diversity Scholar, McNair Scholar, and Gates Millennium Scholar, she was also inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society), Gamma Sigma Alpha (National Greek Academic Honor Society), and Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society).

Karla has been employed by the Indian Law Resource Center since October 2010 at the main office in Helena, Montana and transferred as Staff Attorney to the Washington, DC office in January 2012.

The Center provides legal assistance to indigenous peoples of the Americas to combat racism and oppression, to protect their lands and environment, to protect their cultures and ways of life, to achieve sustainable economic development and genuine self-government, and to realize their other human rights. The Center seeks to overcome the grave problems that threaten Native peoples by advancing the rule of law, by establishing national and international legal standards that preserve their human rights and dignity, and by challenging the governments of the world to accord justice and equality before the law to all indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Kawenniiostha Karla E. General is the daughter of George & Rowena General of Akwesasne, NY.


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