Pam Palmater says the Liberal government is ‘skilled in delaying action under the guise of consultation.’ (Pam Palmater) Brandi Morin, Métis, born and raised in Alberta, possesses a passion for telling Indigenous stories. Based outside Edmonton, Morin has lent her talents to several news organizations, including Indian Country Today Media Network and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News. She is now hard at work striving to tell the stories of Canada’s Indigenous peoples to a broader audience.
It’s been 10 years since the world’s Indigenous Peoples celebrated the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The declaration was established to guarantee Indigenous Peoples individual and collective rights, the right of existence, living free of discrimination, and entitling them as peoples to self-determination under international law.
UN secretary general at the time Ban Ki-moon described it as a “historic moment when UN member states and Indigenous Peoples have reconciled with their painful histories and are resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all.”
The declaration was over 25 years in the making and saw 144 states vote in its favour, with four voting against — Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
Canada cited concerns over “free, prior and informed consent” in the declaration regarding development on ancestral land or using resources within an Indigenous population’s territory, worrying it could be interpreted as granting veto powers to Indigenous groups.
In May 2016, however, Canada dropped its objector status to the declaration and formerly adopted plans to implement it in accordance to the Canadian Constitution. ‘We have developed new, more flexible paths to the recognition of rights and jurisdiction and self-determination as well as new fiscal relationships,’ says Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press) Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett told the UN in April 2016 that implementing the declaration wasn’t something to be afraid of.
“We have developed new, more flexible paths to the recognition of rights and jurisdiction and self-determination as well as new fiscal relationships,” said Bennett. Liberals promise ‘meaningful engagement’
Since then Canada began holding annual meetings with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to identify priorities for moving forward on implementing the declaration.
“Our government affirms that meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples aims to secure their free, prior and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights including their lands, territories and resources,” stated the Ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs in an email to CBC. Alberta’s Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan says the implementation of the UN declaration goes hand in hand with reconciliation. (Alberta Indigenous Relations) In July, the federal government released “10 principles respecting the government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples,” aimed at achieving reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples based on “rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as the foundation for transformative change.”
The government states that it will fulfil its commitment to implementing the declaration “through the review of laws and policies as well as other collaborative initiatives and actions.”
One of the authors of the declaration, Chief Wilton Littlechild, thinks Canada is doing a good job at implementing it.
“As I have travelled across the country to many places, I have witnessed and am very encouraged by governments at all levels, private industry, educational institutions, sports events, the medical and legal communities, faith groups and importantly Indigenous Peoples’ communities all engaged at different levels, in different ways on implementation,” he said.
“We still, of course, have a long way to go, but I think we are on a good […]
Where does Canada sit 10 years after the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
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