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APTN National News

The Government of Canada has released ten principles it says will help in achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a “renewed, nation to nation, government to government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”

The principles were posted on the department of Justice website Friday.

“Section 35 contains a full box of rights, and holds the promise that Indigenous nations will become partners in Confederation on the basis of a fair and just reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.”

The website post also seems to affirm Canada’s commitment to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a stand many thought Canada was backing away from after Justice Minister’s speech to the Assembly of First Nations in July 2016.

“Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,” said Wilson-Raybould in the speech.

In the statement Friday that was released along with the list, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Chair of the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies, said the principles will guide the government in all its work and laws.

“The Principles will guide the review of laws, policies and operational practices and form a foundation for transforming how the federal government partners with and supports Indigenous peoples and governments.”

The list of principles suggest the government is working towards implementing UNDRIP through a review of its current laws.

Here are the ten principles:

1. The Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.

This opening Principle affirms the priority of recognition in renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships. As set out by the courts, an Indigenous nation or rights-holding group is a group of Indigenous people sharing critical features such as language, customs, traditions, and historical experience at key moments in time like first contact, assertion of Crown sovereignty, or effective control. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples estimated that there are between 60 and 80 historical nations in Canada. The Government of Canada’s recognition of the ongoing presence and inherent rights of Indigenous peoples as a defining feature of Canada is grounded in the promise of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, in addition to reflecting articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration.

The promise mandates the reconciliation of the prior existence of Indigenous peoples and the assertion of Crown sovereignty, as well as the fulfilment of historic treaty relationships. This principle reflects the UN Declaration’s call to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. This includes the rights that derive from their political, economic, and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, laws, and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources. Canada’s constitutional and legal order recognizes the reality that Indigenous peoples’ ancestors owned and governed the lands which now constitute Canada prior to the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty. All of Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples are based on recognition of this fact and supported by the recognition of Indigenous title and rights, as well as the negotiation and implementation of pre-Confederation, historic, and modern treaties.

It is the mutual responsibility of all governments to shift their relationships and arrangements with Indigenous peoples so that they are based on recognition and respect for the right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government for Indigenous nations. For […]

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