Rules of law in determining the right of indigenous people

Case Scenario:

The Woori people are an indigenous people living within the borders of the country of Angla, a state with a federal structure of government. The Woori live on lands in the southeastern area of Angla, bordering the Arial Sea on the south and the country of Senturia on the east. The Woori have lived on these lands since time immemorial. The Woori are subsistence-based people, using traditional fishing, hunting, gathering and small agricultural processes to sustain themselves and their families. They engage in some trading of goods with the indigenous communities of Gimman in Senturia and the Sanji, immediately adjacent to the Woori along the northern and western areas of Woori lands. The Woori continue to practice their cultural and spiritual traditions. Especially important in their religion is a gathering and ceremonial place, known as Mt. Espiritu. The Woori people as well as the neighboring Sanji continue to conduct ceremonies and prayers on a regular basis on Mt Rspiritu and use the area to collect medicinal and food plants.

The Woori have lived in relative peace with the Anglan agreement since its founding in 1967. Angla had declared the Woori and other indigenous peoples in its territories citizens of Angla in 1973. In 1978, the Sanji chose to become a federally-recognized tribe under the Anglan Indian Reorganization Act. The Sanji adopted the model Anglan constitution and bylaws and agreed to have the Anglan government as their trustee. The Woori, being relatively isolated from the Anglan systems, did not follow the federal-recognition process and remained under their tradtitional governance style of loosely-knit extended families. For many years, the Woori heard little to nothing of the outside world besides their continued contacts and trade with the Sanji people to north and west and the Gimman people to the east.

In the early 1990's, the Anglan and Senturia governments entered into a trade agreement whereby energy resources were made a top trade priority for the region. Offshore oil deposits were discovered 5 miles off the coast of the homelands of the Woori people and many Senturia began to take place in the capital of Angla for the construction of a refinery and the attendant roads and infrastructure on the coastline. The Anglan capital is located in the in the northwestern corner of Angla.

The Sanji people were consulted as a federally-recognized tribe and agreed to access across their land for certain benefits and royalties. The Woori were not informed of these activities taking place outside of their homelands and noticed only that there were more ships in the water off their coastline. Unaware of the larger plants, the Woori didn't voice any objections to the ships at that time but kept to themselves as they had historically done.

It wasn't until 2006 when major conflicts began to arise. In early 2006, without informing the Woori people, Oiltogo, Senturia Company, received approval from the Anglan government to construct a paved, 4 lane roads through the center of the Woori are to begin construction of the offshore pipeline and onshore oil refinery on the coastal are of the Woori homeland. At about the same time, lizard lovers, inc. discovered a previously believed extinct species of lizard located almost entirely in the area of Mt. Espiritu. In order to better study and create public appreciation of the species in their natural habitat, the Anglan government began negotiations with Lizard Lovers, Inc. to conduct technical and eco tours to the Mt Espiritu. The Sanji people used this area, and the Anglan government sent notice to the Sanji of these negotiations and asked the Sanji people to identify any concerns. Once again, the Woori were not notified of these activities.

A short time later, as several Woori were out gathering medicine plants at Mt. Espiritu, they heard a large noise. They came across bulldozers and other machinery tearing down trees and beginning the construction of the road. Leaders form the community who had been specially trained in understanding the Anglan language were sent on a diplomatic mission to the capital of Angla where they were informed by Anglan officials that the lands they were living on had been classified as Anglan national or public lands by anglan law in the 1972. The Anglan officials then informed the delegation that there was nothing could be done now because the 20 year statue of limitation had run and the Woori had lost their opportunity to file a legal action challenging the designation. The Anglan officials further informed the delegation that the Anglan government was under no obligation to notify or involve the Woori in negotiations regarding the land use because the Woorins were not a federally-recognized tribe under the Anglan law.

The Woori delegation returned to their homeland where they informed their people of what they had been told by the Anglan officials. As the road construction for the oil refinery began, the Anglan government issued orders to remove all illegal Woori communities from the area and to relocate them into safe relocation campus which has been established in the outskirts of the anglan capital. Woori children were ordered to attend special boarding schools to educate them in the Anglan language and teach them Anglan economic and political standards.

The Woori make up approximately 1% of the population in Anglan. The Sanji make up 15% of the population. Other indigenous peoples live throughout Angla and make up approximately 35% of the entire Anglan population. Angla is a member of the organization of American states and the UN. It has ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.


The Woori leadership has come to you for assistance in this situation. You, as a human rights lawyer and advocate, write a legal memo your client regarding the situation, include that you identify in you answers imbedded in the memo, that you identify your client, key players and the problem.

Include analysis of the situation and make recommendations on potential alternative strategies to pursue and why. Describe how you would use customary international law in you approach to the problem. Also, describe any additional documents, information or research that is necessary to fully develop the case and why. You may use charts, diagrams or maps.

Final comments: make sure it's based on legal analysis, and how you apply the rules of law in determining the right of the indigenous people, and how you reached your conclusions.

Please use the method of IRAC: issue, rule analysis, and conclusion.

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Business Law and Ethics: Rules of law in determining the right of indigenous people
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