As in the WGDD, indigenous representatives from the Americas do not hold decision-making powers in the OAS WG but participate vigorously nonetheless in its meetings, under the aegis of the Indigenous Caucus or under the banners of their own communities or organizations.
This section will therefore discuss the debate on the two rights as it crystallized in the WGDD after Norway submitted in 2002 a proposal calling for changes to DD provisions that address the right of self-determination.
offered a proposal at the same session of the WGDD that explicitly merged the right of self-determination with that of autonomy by simply absorbing article 31 into an emasculated article 3: Indigenous peoples have the right to internal self-government.
and western Anglophone countries, (55) followed lately by Norway and other Nordic countries that have signed on to its 2002 proposal, rationalize their opposition in the WGDD to an unencumbered right of self-determination for indigenous peoples on two closely related grounds: 1) that international law does not permit secession, and 2) that it affirmatively protects the territorial integrity of states, which article 3 in the DD threatens.
Indeed, in the fall of 2003, in the course of opposing the Nordic countries' proposal that preambular paragraph 15 be qualified, the Indigenous Caucus counter-proposed to the WGDD that the paragraph's original wording (not underlined above) simply carry the additional phrase "exercised in conformity with applicable principles of international law." The rationale was that the WGDD was not a judicial body entitled to decide what, if anything, limited a people's right to self-determination.