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An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the foremost legal instrument that defines and protects Indigenous rights, is groundbreaking because it centers the voices of Indigenous peoples and pushes back on the colonial undertones of the United Nations human rights framework. While this Declaration represents a landmark in the fight for Indigenous rights, it is nonetheless rooted in a statist international system and perpetuates patriarchal and heteronormative traditions. This dynamic becomes clear by centering Indigenous women. This study utilizes Carol Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to Be?’ approach to policy analysis, feminist, and decolonial theory to explore how the UNDRIP both subverts and upholds the power structures present in the UN human rights framework. Examining this text through a gendered lens and centering Indigenous women in the analysis highlights the systems of power that contextualize this document and the importance of intersectionality in human rights work.

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