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Since then, the administration has solicited comments from tribes and examined the language for conflicts with local, tribal, state and national governments.

Robert Coulter, executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center, described Mr. Obama’s decision as “the most significant development in international human rights law in decades.”

“International human rights law now recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples as peoples, including rights of self-determination, property and culture,” Mr. Coulter said in a statement.

There are more than 370 million indigenous people in about 70 countries worldwide, according to U.N. estimates. About 2 million live in the United States as members of Indian tribes and nations.