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[comments-gtlds] Comment to WG_C: Indigenous Requirements of the DNS root
This is a comment responding to the issues raised in the Charter to DNSO
Working Group C. Response is made to each of the three questions set in
Question 1 is answered in our prior comment on the May IANA Delegation
text which appears below. The originals may be found at the following two
Comments on the MAY 1999 ICANN/IANA Internet Domain Name System Structure
and Delegation document.
The document is a summary of current practices of the IANA in administering
RFC 1591, and includes the guidance contained in ccTLD News Memo #1 of 1997.
The relevance to Tribal Governments and Tribal ISPs is that this text and the
text it incorporates by reference, "How to get a country name into ISO 3166-1"
by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (DIN), have been employed to prevent, since
1992, the creation of a TLD for any Indigenous Group. We will discuss the sole
apparent exception, the .GR (Greenland Home Rule) TLD to this general rule.
The 3166/MA applies the following tests for candidate extensions to the table:
I. The area name for which the inclusion in ISO 3166-1 is requested
represents an area which is physically separated from its parent
country. Dependent areas directly bordering on the parent country
cannot be included in ISO 3166-1.
III. A request for the inclusion of a country name (or the name of
a dependent area) in ISO 3166-1 must originate from the national
government of the country or from the national standards body of that
country. The ISO 3166/MA rejects any request which is not accompanied
by a written statement from the national government explicitly agreeing
to and supporting the request.
The first test ensures that the "Blue Water Thesis", a limit on the scope of
decolonization procedures required by the UN Charter which was advocated by
the United States and Canada and in 1966 became General Assembly Resolution
1541, is construed in the usual sense: to be eligible for inscription as
non-self-governing territories, colonies must be separated from colonizing
powers by at least 30 miles of open ocean. This test, were it to have been a
part of the International Law System 25 years prior, would negate the claim
that Germany colonized contiguous Poland during the Second World War, or that
the Poles possessed a legal right to decolonization.
The text which would apply under the International System were the test in
GAR 1541 (the "Blue Water thesis") satisfied are Articles 73 and 74, entitled
"Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories", of Chapter XI of the
Charter of the United Nations, attached as an appendix to this comment.
Greenland, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, etcetera, all clearly fall outside the
limiting scope of GAR 1541. The Vatican State and other Statelets do not, but
these were not the targets of National Liberation Movements in the 1960's.
In the present, since 1992, The Six Nations, the Blackfoot Confederacy, the
Wabenaki Confederacy, all Jay Treaty Nations under the joint colonial trusts
of the United States and Canada, and the Navajo Nation and others under the
sole colonial trust of the United States, have all attempted to obtain access
to the Domain Name System as Sovereign States. None has succeeded. Each has had
to pick among several alternatives -- pretend to be a municipal government in a
fictive State (the .NSN.US model), pretend to be a non-profit, or a for-profit
business or ISP that just happens to be run by Indians, frequently under an
alias as cybersquatting on Indian Tribal Identity is a cottage industry
encouraged by the Registrar of the Generic TLDs, move "off-shore", or defer on
accessing the net as a Government.
At no point in this near-decade long attempt to introduce rational access to
the DNS have the Governments of Canada or the United States taken cognizance
of these attempts, and neither has ever explicitly agreed to supporting such
a request. We do not anticipate that either State will ever do so, nor ever
support the expiration of GAR 1541 and expose themselves to criticism as
An irony of the "end of the Cold War" is that Indians are the last victims of
the rhetorical finger pointing and moral grandstanding of the Nuclear Weapons
States. To prevent the Soviets from scoring anti-capitalist, decolonial points
in a war now entering its second decade of defunctness, the status of Tribes
in the Americas had to be taken off the table for legitimate and polite
discourse. The IANA continues this form of apartheid to the present moment.
Within the DNS, this situation has no mechanism for change if the IANA
continues to stay "out of the business of deciding who is or isn't a State",
and instead lets another agency impose the outdated construction of GAR 1541
on applicants. At present, the IANA takes a very active role in fact in
deciding "who isn't a State", no matter what fiction is presented to the
contrary. The short answer is that "Indians Aren't".
The IANA needs to find another solution to the problems of TLD allocation,
and in the very near future. The problem is not unique to the North Americas,
it is present throughout the Americas, Oceania, Africa, Asia, and even in
Europe. The DNS need not render "Stateless" every person who's primary social
identity is not presently recognized as a "State" within the International
System. There is no necessity, and no compelling utility argument to be made
for the suppression of access to the namespace of the Internet by legitimate
The issue has been widely discussed in the TribalLaw and Tribal-Telecom lists
and was the subject of discussion at last years National Congress of American
Indians, and will be the subject of a Resolution and an Action Plan for the
historic joint Summit with the Assembly of First Nations Summit.
The time has come to resolve this problem.
Article 73, contains instructions to States which exercise Trust authority
under the UN Charter, specifically:
a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned,
their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their
just treatment, and their protection against abuses;
b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political
aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive
development of their free political institutions, according to the
particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their
varying stages of advancement;
d. to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage
research,and to co-operate with one another and, when and where
appropriate, with specialized international bodies with a view to
the practical achievement of the social, economic, and scientific
purposes set forth in this Article;
Article 74 further instructs States which exercise Trust authority on the
specific issue of policies outside the metropolitan areas:
Members of the United Nations also agree that their policy in respect
of the territories to which this Chapter applies, no less than in
respect of their metropolitan areas, must be based on the general
principle of good-neighbourliness, due account being taken of the
interests and well-being of the rest of the world, in social, economic,
and commercial matters.
Question 2 is answered as follows:
Subject to its authorization by resolution of the Membership and Assembled
Chiefs of the NCAI and AFN (07/23/99), the registration and data maintenance
process and regulation of the .NAA. TLD is sole responsibility of the DNS
Working Party, or of the Nevada Indian Environmental Coalition, The Portland
Abenaki Community, the National Indian Telecommunications Institute and the
Treaty 7 Council.
Question 3 is answered similarly.
It is clear to us that the statist construction of political geography can be
improved, and one alternative is regional geographic TLDs which address the
needs of stateless and/or indigenous peoples in unique, or multiple adjacent
conflicting jurisdictions. A single "Indigenous" TLD is simply a start at the
solution of decolonializing the DNS. The interests of the Unrepresented Nations
and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) while similar to our own, are sufficiently
distinct to suggest that at least two such TLDs are presently required.
Deployment should occur as soon as the DNSO takes the position that it is
in the DNSO's interests to resolve this issue.
The O&M issues we experience and anticipate in Year Zero are similar to those
of the .CA, .MX and .US registrars and registries. We expect to experience O&M
issues like those of the .COM and .ORG gTLD in Year One. We've nearly 1,000
jurisdictional polities (sovereignties) to register, and on average one for
every 100,000 persons per urban center for Tribal Houses and similar forms
of Indigenous institutions in non-indigenous urban areas. Next, we've the
indigenous-identified or indigenous-segmented associational and economic
applicants for our namespace.
Aspects which usually haven't occurred to non-indigenous members of the DNS
communities are brand management, cultural and political development, regional
economic and environmental resource management (aka "biodiversity" and/or
"sustained development"), and intangible intellectual property rights (viz.
Art. 8(j) of the Biodiversity Convention).
We hereby submit a request for the creation of a "North American Aboriginal"
TLD with the TLA "NAA", as an action item for Working Group C (document #1).
We will draft a "Call for Tenders for one or more Indigenous gTLD registries"
and a responsive Offer.
We will document the registration and data maintenance procedure for the new
Indigenous gTLD registries.
The second and third action items do not require an affirmative response
for the de facto Indigenous DNS Working Party (Alan Mandell, John Cristescu)
The tl-ip (ad hoc Indigenous Intellectual Property Council), native-telecoms,
and triballaw mailing lists
Organizer of the (Indigenous) Intellectual Property Constituency group