Kenneth Deer has been active in promoting and defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the UN system for thirty years. He participated in the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which drafted the original text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in the Working Group on the Draft Declaration, which elaborated and edited the Declaration prior to its adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2007. During the Working Group meetings he contributed to the debate about the rights in the Declaration and organized the Indigenous Peoples Preparatory Meetings which were important for Indigenous representatives to prepare and strategize for meetings with states. He continues to be engaged at the UN in the role of Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous World Association, an NGO that has consultative status with the United Nations and has participated in sessions of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also has a long history of partnership with the Canadian Friends Service Committee, working with them both domestically and internationally for the rights of Indigenous peoples.
In addition to his work at the UN, Mr. Deer has extensive experience in journalism and education. In 1992 he founded the award winning newspaper The Eastern Door and was its editor and publisher for 16 years. Before that he was active in the transition of control of Indigenous education from the Canadian federal government to local communities, and played an instrumental role in the creation and direction of the Kahnawake Survival School, an independent high school in his home community of Kahnawake. Among his many accolades he was made an honorary doctor of laws by Concordia University in 2015.
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