Indigenous peoples, genocide and the stand-off at Standing Rock 

On 8th of March 2017, the Human Rights Consortium held a seminar on 'Indigenous peoples, genocide and the stand-off at Standing Rock' looking into the historic genocide of indigenous peoples, the growing understanding that genocide includes the extinguishment of culture and the environment on which we all depend, and their relevance to one of the largest and longest acts of recent indigenous resistance in the USA now taking place at Standing Rock.

On the occasion of the publication of University of California Los Angeles historian Benjamin Madley’s book on the genocide of the indigenous peoples of California during the Gold Rush of the 1850s, the HRC invited the author to make the case for this little known period of Californian history that reduced the native population from 150,000 to some 16,000 in a period of 20 years. Meticulously gathering evidence of over 370 massacres, often federally instigated and funded, Madley demonstrates that these acts fall squarely within the articles of the Genocide Convention.

Damien Short (University of London) complemented the key note speaker by making the case for a wider understanding of the notion of genocide including ecocide and ethnocide drawing on material in his recent publication on genocide.

Colin Samson (University of Essex) who has recently co-authored a book on indigenous peoples and colonialism reflected on how the colonial mind-set is as present as ever in the violent confrontations at Standing Rock where Native Americans are resisting the construction of an oil pipeline affecting their lands.


An American Genocide by Professor Benjamin Madley 
Redefining Genocide by Dr Damien Short
Indigenous peoples and colonialism by Professor Colin Samson