UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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saga saga's picture
UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples


saga saga's picture

I am putting this here, but when you read the letter you will find another concern as well:

1) Canada (Liberal) supported and helped develop the Declaration on INDIGENOUS RIGHTS. However, Canada (Con) voted against it at the committee level, and sabotaged the vote at the Assembly. The UN has written to Canada demanding that we change our position. I agree. I have posted a petition below in case anyone is interested. There is a special UN meeting going on in NY right now on Indigenous Rights.

2) Canada, last week, was the ONLY country to vote against a UN protocol for monitoring and reporting on HUMAN RIGHTS issues. That is, Harper refuses to allow the UN to monitor human rights in Canada. I find this extremely scary, knowing what we know about his views on human rights. For example, Harper refused to participate in the 25th anniversary celebration of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, claiming a preference for the old Bill of Rights.

SO ... the issue here is rights of Indigenous Peoples, but rights of all Canadians are in jeopardy as well, it seems to me.


Aboriginal group issues statement about UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

July 4, 2007 - by Joseph Quesnel

Open letter from First Nations Leadership Council: Statement Regarding UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – One year ago today the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To Canada's shame, it, together with Russia, voted against the adoption of the Declaration. Since then, Canada has been actively engaged through the UN process to continue to undermine the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council. While Canada is taking some measures to address human rights issues domestically, it is still working hard to undermine the Declaration at the United Nations. If Canada is truly serious about its dealings with Indigenous Peoples, it would support the Declaration as it was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on June 29, 2006.

Canada, in letters from the Hon. Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, has said that unless changes are made to the Declaration it will vote against the adoption of the Declaration. Canada's approach to human rights issues is being severely tarnished by this position and actions of the federal government.

The Declaration provides minimum INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS for the protection of the "dignity, well being and the survival" of the world's 370 million Indigenous Peoples. It is clear the current domestic/Canadian standards are unilateral, arbitrary and self serving. Canada’s comprehensive claims policies, self government policies and specific claims policies are all products of Canada's unilateral and arbitrary standard setting.

For example, Canada does not like the articles in the Declaration which refer to

• lands, territories and resources

• compensation for lands that have been taken/lost/stolen

• "free prior and informed consent" of Indigenous peoples when governments plan to develop lands/territories in Indigenous territories

One only need ask any First Nations negotiator to confirm that Canada continues to put forth a policy of not providing compensation to Indigenous peoples for lands and resources taken without Indigenous free, prior and informed consent.

Canada wants to determine First Nations peoples’ human rights in light of selfserving policies. In fact as evidence of this, just a few days ago Canada voted against a resolution at the Human Rights Council in Geneva which requires States (i.e., Canada) to be subjected to periodic UN reviews of its human rights record. Canada was the only country to vote against this resolution.

After several days of "consultations" with States and Indigenous Caucus and a large number of non-Indigenous non-governmental organizations, the UN will convene a plenary session today in New York to discuss/debate the Declaration. Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit Executive and the First Nations Leadership Council is currently at the United Nations on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and the North American Indigenous Caucus to observe the discussions. The Assembly of First Nations represents 633 First Nations in Canada.


Reading the clauses that deal with land, resources and environment I can't understand what Canada's present objections could be. Harper's government is likely objecting to the fact that the land claims process may be subject to the Declaration's tests.

If the declaration were assented there would be more consistency in the administration of land claims. None of this changing policy from election to election stuff.

saga saga's picture


The UN last week called an emergency meeting to address this issue. Canada's opposition is delaying the entire process. I hope there is some heavy duty pressure being applied to Harper, and any and all help from babblers would be great!
[email protected]

Harper made it clear he does not support the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by refusing to attend the 25th anniversary celebrations, and he even said he prefers the old 'Bill of Rights'. He has also defied the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings by refusing to "consult and accommodate" regarding Six Nations land disputes, instead calling it a matter for the police and courts, and thus causing the brutal attack on women, youth and men by police April 20 2006. (Note: The video of the attack has not yet received wide distribution, but is currently being distributed to developers in Haldimand County, to discourage them from assuming that the police will solve their problems.)

Land in dispute is being developed on a RUSH basis these days. This is the government's way of refusing to return land - Oops! It is developed ... gee ... can't return that land!

Consequently, Six Nations Confederacy people have had to enforce the ruling themselves, by stopping the developments on the disputed land. It has worked: By physically intervening in two developments, the rest have quit.

The UN Declaration does nothing more than the laws we already have in place ... that our government does not uphold.

It would make a difference, for example, in situations like the one that occurred in the NWT this spring: The DeNe have not 'signed off' on the pipeline across their territory, demanding that the government consult and accommodate their own plans. SO ... with a little help from south of the border, military manoevres were conducted on their land without their permission, to intimidate them. (It didn't work.)

I think Harper's problem is specifically the issue of not being able to send the army in, since he likes to threaten such action. I think it is disgusting if it comes down to that!

BTW ... it covers "traditional and treaty lands" (i.e., the ones under claim), not just reserve land.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Thanks for the update and petition link Saga.

Harper is an embarassment on the world stage and a threat to our civil rights, especially those that protect Aboriginal people and minority groups. I wish Canadians would wake up and see what a monster he is.

saga saga's picture

Update ... Harper is getting a LOT of pressure about the UN Declaration ...

(KEEP THOSE EMAILS FLOWING, FOLKS! [email protected]),

...here, and maybe he did in South America too ... and he has strangely recalled a committee to see if they can pass the aboriginal 'human rights' thingy he has proposed to bad reception From the Chiefs.

Perhaps he thinks this will substitute for the UN Declaration ... ???

Not a bit ... totally different
... individual not collective rights.

And was an attempt to initiate private land ownership, via 'rights of women' to the marital home, I think, to start breaking up the land.
[img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 22 July 2007: Message edited by: saga ]

saga saga's picture

July 21, 2007

Indigenous Peoples demand UN accountability

By Rebecca Sommer

New York, NY, UN Headquarters (Special to HNN) -- Representatives of Indigenous Peoples demand the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but feel highly alarmed by restrains and restrictions of rules and procedures of the United Nations system.

The Indigenous Peoples Caucus, comprised of legitimate political leaders of their peoples, objected on Wednesday, July 18, 2007, in a press release against the myth that discussion of issues at the UN General Assembly would be for governments "only" -- and that Indigenous Peoples delegations are merely non-governmental organizations.

The United Nations Charter begins with the words “We, the peoples of the world.” The will of the peoples and the collective interests of the peoples are represented at the United Nations by the governments of the nation states.

"We Indigenous Peoples cannot be represented by states, which control our lives, rule over our traditional territories and exploit our resources for alien benefit," stated Les Malezer, chairman of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus. "

Representatives of our people must have the right to be heard at the General Assembly level when they decide on our UN Declaration. We demand to be allowed to be present on the floor of the General Assembly when the UN General Assembly resolution is presented for final adoption: let's not forget that the Declaration is for us and about us."

Just two weeks ago, Indigenous Peoples representatives were prevented from participating in an informal intersessional meeting about the Declaration at the UN headquarters. Even though announced as an open meeting, a small group of states lead by Russia forced the Indigenous representatives to leave the room. Some Indigenous delegates traveled from far countries -- to attend that meeting to represent the interests of their people.

"We were quite upset that we could not witness the discussions about our own human rights and that governments insisted that it should be a closed meeting,” said Kenneth Deer, the Publisher and Editor of the The Eastern Door, and a member of the Mohawk Nation.


"We cannot accept that some states want to dilute the right for Indigenous Peoples to their self-determination," said Romy Tincopa , a state representative of the UN Mission of Peru. “That right is essential that Indigenous Peoples can protect and determine their future, their culture, language and way of life.”

"Some states believe that the sky will fall down when IP would have the right to self-determination" said Dalee Sambo Dorough, a representative of the Inuit people. "But that right which all people have – is consistent with International law, the UN Charters."

“The states, by the way, who now want to restart the drafting of the Declaration -- we would like to see the human rights records of these states, in relation the treatment of indigenous peoples and in particular the most recent reports of the human rights treaty bodies to be taken into account in conjunction with their views on the Declaration,” Malezer added.

CONTACT: Indigenous Peoples Caucus at the UN
Email: [email protected]
Cell: +1 (646) 338 3029
Website: [url=http://www.ipcaucus.net]www.ipcaucus.net[/url]

How states voted at the Human Rights Committee...

Ten points ... "8. The Declaration contains no new rights"

[img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 22 July 2007: Message edited by: saga ]

saga saga's picture
saga saga's picture


Aug. 7, 2007

NEWS ANALYSIS: Day-Long Agenda Slated for Thursday to Address Indigenous Peoples Rights

By HNN Staff

New York, NY (HNN) -- On the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples --Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007-- rights advocates from around the world will address the most pressing priority issues affecting the world's Indigenous Peoples.
DISCUSSIONS ON THE U.N. DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES is a one-hour work in progress film on one of the most-discussed pieces of legislation in UN history. For 25 years, governments and indigenous peoples have been discussing how to apply the universal declaration of Human Rights to the specific situations of indigenous peoples. This desperately needed Declaration, which articulated only the most basic of needs, was nonetheless rejected in November 2006. In this film, governmental and indigenous leaders present their issues of concern and the implications for the future. (First screened on the opening day of the 6th Session of the PFII in May 2007)

to watch sample video clips click here:

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.straightgoods.ca/2009/ViewFeature.cfm?Ref=453]Canada still is not on board with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[/url]

Two years ago, on September 13, 2007, nations around the world signed an innovative human rights treaty: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the aim of which is to protect some 370 million people around the world.

Last week, the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL) participated in a public event to celebrate the anniversary of that signing. But, as the AFNQL pointed out, [b]Canada is one of the three countries which continues to reject this document.[/b] Québec, despite several invitations, also remains silent on the question.

"How can you explain the fact that governments who call themselves champions of human rights, like the governments of Québec and Canada, continue to refuse to support a document which recognizes the fundamental human rights of aboriginal peoples?" asks Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL. "Canada's refusal to sign the declaration is inconceivable!"


Thank you for posting that M Spector - it makes one truly embarassed for our country. Especially juxtoposed with our faux concern over human rights in Afghanistan.

Erik Redburn
Erik Redburn

Right post but wrong thread.



 The Assembly of First Nations represents 633 First Nations in Canada.[/quote] NDPP

Like hell they do - unless you mean Indian Act Band Councils acting as administrative units of the Canadian government itself..?

George Victor

This story, that saga reminded us about, two summers back, is again in the news this morning.  I missed the CBC radio news that gave the reason for updaing, but was reminded that now, only Canada and the U.S. have not signed on.  Probably something to do with property.  :)

Canada still is not on board with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


UN Condemns Land Grabs in Native Territories


"Millions of people around the world who belong to indigenous communities continue to face discrimination and abuse at the hands of authorities and private business concerns, says a new UN report released here Thursday. It is happening not only in the developing parts of the world but also in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which champion the causes of human rights and democracy the report says..."


US Re-Examines Opposition to UN Declaration


"Political tides are turning as international support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples continues to grow, putting greater pressure on Canada and the US to fully endorse it.."


Christian Doctrine Fueled Indigenous Genocide: UNPFII


"Dehumanization leads to the second thing indigenous peoples share in common. Being treated on the basis of the belief that those who invaded our territories have a right of lordship or dominance over our existence and, therefore, have the right to take, grant, and dispose of our lands, territories, and resources without our permission or consent.."

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I think, as well, that the private property ideology, as represented by John Locke and others, in which "undeveloped" property could "rightly" be confiscated by those looking to "develop" the property. E M Wood writes about this in "The Origin of Capitalism". I should add, of course, that the ideology is hardly the determining factor; rather, the ideological justifications and reflexes reflect the underlying socio-economic relationships that were being established.


BC First Nations Leader Has Demand For New Federal Indian Affairs Minister


"The newly appointed federal minister of Indian affairs needs to convince Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fully endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, says the president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs..."

Stephen Harper -  [email protected]

laine lowe laine lowe's picture
M. Spector M. Spector's picture

In March 2010, the Government of Canada announced it would take steps to endorse the UN Declaration...

– [url=http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html]Source[/url]

It took the Harpocons eight months to draft this self-congratulatory statement, which is not a statement of support but rather a [b]reiteration of opposition[/b] to the UN Declaration.

All they grudgingly promise to do is "interpret the principles expressed in the Declaration in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework." In other words, they'll ignore it, or twist it to suit their own political agenda.


Could this be fallout from Canada's recent failure to gain a seat on the U.N.'s Security Council?

Herr Harper sucking up to the U.N. to save face?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Frmrsldr wrote:

Could this be fallout from Canada's recent failure to gain a seat on the U.N.'s Security Council?

Herr Harper sucking up to the U.N. to save face?


I was wondering the same thing, FrmrSldr. M. Spector, I have no doubt that their commitment to the principles will be ignored. This is a fig leaf move on the part of Harper but it strikes me as interesting in terms of the timing.  I don't trust him one iota on this file or any for that mater.


laine lowe wrote:

Frmrsldr wrote:

Could this be fallout from Canada's recent failure to gain a seat on the U.N.'s Security Council?

Herr Harper sucking up to the U.N. to save face?

I was wondering the same thing, FrmrSldr.

Yes, remember the media framed it as "Canada voted against Iran becoming a member of a U.N. Commission overseeing the rights of women."

Two points about that:

1. Canada's vote was not instrumental in Iran's failing to gain a seat on that commission but was one vote among many others that resulted in this outcome.

2. The Canadian fawning commercial media framing it in this manner sounds like Canada voted against Iran in this case as a vengeance vote - on the assumption that the Islamic Republic of Iran voted against Canada getting a seat on the U.N. Security Council because of Canada's "principled" (Herr Harper's term) support for (the state, i.e. government of) Israel.

Le T Le T's picture

It's great that they have (kind of) supported UNDRIP. We'll see if anything actually comes of it. Perhaps the document will be given more weight in court now that Canada is a signatory?

What we should remember is that Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and USA refused to sign this document. Their first reaction was that recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples was not in their interest. Perhaps this will make it easier for some people to recognize that all four of these settler states are currently involved in the genocide of Indigenous Peoples, which makes it hard to affirm their rights internationally.


Sean Atleo has said that signing the document is a new begining for the relationships between Canada and Indigenous commmunities. With The Apology, and now this, Canada is certainly starting lots of new beginings and it will be important to influence how they end.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Nothing will come out of it.


The Illusion of Justice in Canada - The Conservatives Conditional Support of UNDRIP




For those who have any further questions about what this all means, INAC also provides a section entitled "Frequently Asked Questions". In answer to the question of whether a State which originally voted against UNDRIP can change its mind, INAC very clearly says "There is no official way for a State to change its position on a declaration". All it can subsequently do is issue a Statement of Support. Canada knew this when it originally voted against UNDRIP. In answer to the question of what UNDRIP means: "The UNDRIP is a non-legally binding aspirational document". I am not sure how much clearer they could have made their position.

So, at the end of the day, all Canada has done is publicly support the cherished wish list of Indigenous peoples but that wish list will not have any legal application or effect in Canada. Regardless of this striking fact, one might argue that Canada could still make significant and substantive changes to its relationship with Indigenous peoples and take transformational action to address serious social, economic, political, cultural and legal issues impacting on the well-being of Indigenous peoples, the majority of which it caused through its colonial laws and policies.

Sure....Canada "could" do that - the question is will it? Well, let's see what Minister of INAC John Duncan had to say:


You will note in the above interview with APTN, that Minister Duncan re-affirms that UNDRIP is an "aspirational" document only that has NO legal application in Canada. Furthermore, on whether Canada's endorsement of UNDRIP will bring about significant changes for Indigenous peoples in Canada, Minister Duncan responds that Canada has its "own agenda" and as a result does not "anticipate any significant change".

So, once again I am still asking myself what the heck is everyone so excited about? Why on earth would the Assembly of First Nations celebrate this announcement? Why would First Nations leaders appear in the media and praise Canada for making such a significant commitment to the rights of Indigenous peoples? Did anyone take the time to actually read what the Statement said or what INAC said its alleged "endorsement" means?

Le T Le T's picture

Nonstatusindian seems to have hit it on the head. This was my initial reaction but I was trying not to much of a downer out of the gate.


I would guess that the AFN celebrated the announcement so that they can use it as political leverage. If they act like it means something they can call the Feds on their hypocracy everytime that they poison a lake or support a uranium mine in a nation's territory. Or use it to call for expansion of basic services to reserves.


The AFN are a bunch of traitor sellouts. Like the chiefs who welcomed the olympics on stolen land. Disgusting.

Green Grouch

Two things:

A state actually can change its position on a declaration or any other UN agreement. There is no such thing as being unable to change your position, at  least according to the UN. According to Reformatories... well, we know that answer. Canada did change its position on the Kyoto Protocol, for example (with  the massive caveat that Canada never did a damn thing other than undermine it-- a risk we now run with the UNDRIP).

The Declaration is aspirational according to the UN and to international law, not just to internationally lawless Canada. A nation can choose to make it meaningful by changing its domestic legislation, budget, etc, to abide by the aspirations of the Declaration. Obviously this government is signalling that as far as it's concerned , the Declaration will remain nothing but a pretty aspiration.

I think it will have the meaning the government wants it to,  as always, unless we fight back.

I do see this as step forward; it gives us all (Indigenous and settler) another way of pushing back. You gotta believe that there are some seriously pissed off mining and oil companies out there this week, because the UNDRIP spells out conditions for free, prior and informed consent that are a nightmare for them. Sure, our spineless and passively / agressively racist politicians and general public won't act (check out the comments over at CBC for a nastly little peek into our "nation's" psyche). But that's not new. We have to use other avenues.

I am very thankful to be able to work with a document that was drafted by hundreds of elders and true leaders over the course of 20 years. Some of it is necessarily UN-speak, but some of it is very moving.  I agree we can't be naive about the AFN or the government, but I guess I see this as a tiny, necessary step towards the vision laid out in the Declaration.

sknguy II

This government does like to stress the fact that the declaration is legally non-binding. It's in all their statements on UNDRIP. That only serves to demean and deflect from it's moral precedents. The document attempts to address a global injustice for the "world's" Indigenous people. But the selfish needs of this government ignore the actual scope of the declaration's intent. Without adhesion, I don't think Canada has any "moral" basis from which to express opinions on other issues (declarations or conventions) that attempt to address the interests of the world's Indigenous peoples. This is a disingenuous effort, and I think the only reason they are recognizing UNDRIP is to better secure their opinions elsewhere. Like the processes of Convention on Biological Diversity. Now they can claim they have a moral interest.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Ahni wrote:
The rhetoric just doesn't sit with the reality. For instance, there are five ongoing blockades in four Provinces right now, because Canada won't respect Indigenous Peoples' right to consent or consultation and accommodation. On top of that, there are at least a dozen other "hot spots" where blockades could be on the way, again, because of Canada's suppression and avoidance of those basic rights. And let's not forget dozens upon dozens of blockades, protests and lawsuits that have been aimed at Canada and the Provinces in recent years.

On top of that, the "economic and social well-being" of Indigenous People hasn't improved at all in recent years. In fact it's probably getting worse, especially since Canada decided to cut their funding to 134 indigenous healing centres which were largely dedicated to helping residential school survivors.

Then there's the waste problem in Canada. For instance, how there aren't any laws to stop companies from dumping their toxic waste onto reserve lands---or how Canada won't remediate the 4,464 toxic sites on reserve. According to the Auditor General of Canada, it would cost under $200 million to clean these sites. But Canada chooses not to spend the money.

Finally, there's the matter of physical health in Canada. Even though Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, downplayed it in his 2008 Annual Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, there is a major gulf between the health of average Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. From youth suicide to Infant mortality rates, homelessness to "substandard" housing, unsafe water to obesity, chronic diseases to infectious diseases and the list goes on. The numbers are all higher for the Indigenous population.

[url=http://intercontinentalcry.org/so-canada-endorsed-the-un-declaration-of-... Cry[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The press release is full of self-serving praise about the Harper government's record with aboriginal peoples. But placed inside the press release are weasel words that condemn this document. It states: "The Declaration is an aspirational document which speaks to the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples."

Aspirational is defined as a "cherished desire." [b]In other words, the government considers the Declaration as a "wish list," and it's not about to become reality anytime soon.[/b]

Also, the government doesn't consider it a legal obligation. The press release states, "While the Declaration is not legally binding, endorsing it as an important aspirational [there's that word again] document is a significant step forward in strengthening relations with Aboriginal peoples."

Whether the declaration is legally binding isn't the issue. The fact that it is morally and ethically binding is more to the point. [b]So the Canadian government supports the wish list, but it will have no legal effect in Canada.[/b]

Governing should be based on what is needed, and not what the politicians can get away with.

[url=http://rabble.ca/news/2010/12/lukewarm-feds-finally-sign-un-declaration-... Cuthand[/url]


Harper continues Canada's dirty and shameful role on the world stage:

[url=http://http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/10/02/canada-un-indigenous-righ... Is The Only UN Member To Reject Landmark Indigenous Rights Document[/url]


The United States, who was among four nations (including Canada) who opposed the adoption of the original declaration seven years ago, notably reversed its position. President Barack Obama threw his administration’s support behind the declaration, regarding it as one that will "help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future."

The document was adopted by all nations by consensus last week, but Canada was the only country to file its objections, flagging the wording of “free, prior and informed consent” as problematic.

Free, prior, and informed consent is commonly upheld as a key principle in international law. But according to Ottawa, it’s tricky wording that could be interpreted as “a veto to aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists.”

“As a result, Canada cannot associate itself with the elements contained in this outcome document related to free, prior and informed consent,” the government explained in a statement.

Excellent article - it details the record of Canada's role since the original 2007 vote.



From APTN in September:

Ottawa buries official statement criticizing UN conference for giving Indigenous people too much power

Ottawa didn’t think much of the high-profile UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ outcome document and quietly posted an official statement outlining its displeasure in a back corner of its website. The statement is posted under Foreign Affairs’ website for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. It’s not easy to find on the website as it’s not highlighted on the front page.

It was so hard to find that I guess even the "opposition" parties didn't notice it.

They may have commented, but their comments are too hard to find.



Thanks for renewing our interest in the present status of Indigenous Rights globally.

In spite of the fact that the Government did support the Declaration on Indigenous Rights in 2011, in spirit, its imperialist ventures in the mining and oil patches within Indigenous Terriories, not to mention globally, is total contradiction and violation.

What is essential to consider here is enforcement of these global indigenous rights, whatever the (corrupt) political parties and lower courts may say and do! (And continually in opposition to international Court declarations!)

So international indigenous organization pronouncements in support of their rights inevitably must follow up with coordinated international actions and targeting Canada whenever necessary. 


First Nations Land Code Voted Down in LIL'WAT


Elders, traditionalists keep their Sovereignty, deny Canada's Offer of 'Municipal' Powers


'We Don't Need Your CON-sti-tu-i-tion!'


swallow swallow's picture

[url=http://aptn.ca/news/2016/05/09/bennett-undrip-shift-putting-everyone-on-... says Ottawa’s UNDRIP embrace ‘putting everyone on notice’[/url]

This is the oddest statement I've seen in some time on this topic. 


It appears that while the Harper government announced in 2010 it would “endorse” UNDRIP it officially maintained an objection to the document. The previous Conservative government said UNDRIP was an aspirational document that would be interpreted “in a manner that is consistent with our Constitutional and legal framework.”

Bennett said the government’s change in position also put the resource sector on notice that it needed to “seek free, prior and informed consent” before moving on projects impacting Indigenous lands.

A wonderful repudiation of the disgusting Harper government double-talk on the UNDRIP. And the move to lock in an obligation to "consult" towards free prior informed consent (FPIC) is much needed, though there's still no requirement to actually obtain FPIC - just to "seek" it. This will need to be tightened up. Details supposed to be coming tomorrow. 


Bennett said the change on position toward UNDRIP would also allow the country to begin a “conversation” on Indigenous rights.

“What this allows is for us to proceed with a conversation with Canadians. It is a step for us pursuing a full reconciliation process that is based on the principles within the UNDRIP,” said Bennet.

She said the document was “breathing life” into section 35 of the Constitution which guarantees Aboriginal rights.

OK, great - so the Trudeau government will seek to move Canadian public opinion towards a more respectful relationship, maybe? 


The minister said Ottawa would be consulting with First Nation, Inuit and Metis people before moving to codify UNDRIP in Canadian law.

Bennett also said a private member’s bill on UNDRIP introduced earlier this year by NDP MP Romeo Saganash didn’t meet that consultation threshold.

“It would be very important that we consult First Nation, Inuit and Metis on anything we would do in order to codify (UNDRIP),” said Bennett. “It is very important we understand and we being that conversation as nation-to-nation, Inuit-to-Crown. I don’t think we can go forward based on a private member’s bill without proper consultation.”

Who does Bennett think created the UNDRIP? It was founded in wide consultations with Indigenous peoples globally. This comes across as stalling tactics. It's also highly presumptuous of her to position herself as more into consultation than Romeo Saganash, who has been doing this work for years - and unlike her, was a moving figure in the UNDRIP itself. 


Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also delivered a speech on the opening day at the UN Permanent Forum which called on the international community to make Indigenous peoples the focus of this century.

“I say let us make this the century of the world’s Indigenous peoples, one where Indigenous peoples, no matter where they live, deconstruct their colonial legacy and rebuild their communities,” said Wilson-Rabyould, who is Canada’s first ever federal Indigenous justice minister.

Colonialism - good to see it named as such. I am hoping the next steps will be done in a non-colonial fashion, though that may be hoping for the impossible. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada officially adopts UN declaration on rights of Indigenous Peoples

There were cheers in the United Nations as Canada officially removed its objector status to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Tuesday, almost a decade after it was adopted by the General Assembly.

"We are now a full supporter of the declaration, without qualification," Bennett said, as she addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations in New York City on Tuesday.

"We intend nothing less than to adopt and implement the declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution."...


[url=https://www.hilltimes.com/2016/05/11/mp-saganash-pushes-liberals-to-supp... Saganash pushes Liberals to support his indigenous rights bill, says no need for more consultation[/url]

Lots to chew on here - especially for those who (like me) don't understand all the issues involved.

What is quite striking is that the Liberals, when in opposition, voted in favour of a similar previous PMB by Saganash, but now they're balking for reasons which (to repeat) I don't fully understand.

I guess we'll be hearing lots more about this in the coming days.


"Meet the new boss same as the old boss" except this one claims to be on the side of the First Nations while he is kniving them in the back.  The treaty process has always had only one goal as far as the business community and their government allies are concerned and that is extinguishment of aboriginal title.


A Liberal history without real change

Majority governments are typically arrogant and interpret their electoral promises as they see fit, including whether they will even implement their promises.

Six months in and experienced observers of Indigenous policy can see the differences between what Trudeau and his ministers publicly say and what’s really happening on the ground. This shows how the Trudeau government is interpreting its platform promises.

The Trudeau government’s 2015 promises are reminiscent of 1993, when I was involved in the development of the federal Liberal Aboriginal Platform as vice-president of policy for the Liberal Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission, which consisted of Chapter 7 of the Red Bookand a longer Aboriginal platform issued in Saskatoon on October 8, 1993, by the Liberal leader at the time, Jean Chrétien.

There were two Liberal Aboriginal platforms in the 1993 federal election. The Liberal Aboriginal Commission had to fight with the backroom types such as Chaviva Hošek, Eddie Goldenburg and others to be included in the Red Book, which was the centrepiece. What we couldn’t get into the Red Book, we pushed to have included in a longer and more detailed Liberal Aboriginal platform, which we pushed Chrétien to announce on the campaign trail in Saskatoon.

However, as we found out after the election, it was all for nothing, as Prime Minister Chrétien either manipulated, broke or ignored the Liberal Aboriginal promises. The removal of on-reserve tax exemption and municipalization of reserves originated with the Chrétien Liberal government in the 1990s and are a main part of the 1995 Liberal Aboriginal Self-Government policy, which the Chrétien Liberal government unilaterally imposed.

It is the grassroots First Nation peoples on reserve and off reserve who will continue to suffer, not those employed at band offices and First Nation chiefs’ organizations.

Also in 1995, Finance Minister Paul Martin placed a 2 per cent cap on First Nations programs, and he didn’t remove it when he became prime minister in 2003. Martin and subsequent Liberal leaders buried the 1993 Liberal Aboriginal Policy promises.

For the last 21 years the federal “self-government” policy has set out Canada’s negotiating position with all First Nations. It gives all provinces a veto in any negotiations with First Nations on subject matters that affect provincial jurisdiction or laws.

Another dangerous feature of the federal “self-government” policy is that Canada intends to keep for itself all of the real powers of sovereignty and nationhood necessary for sustaining an economy, trade and diplomatic relations with other nations in the world. These are not on the table for negotiations with First Nations. There is no real power sharing contemplated in the federal self -government negotiation process. The only role that Aboriginal groups or “bands” would have under the self-government agreements are “delegated authority” under various federal (and provincial) subject areas. The policy also requires that Aboriginal groups or “bands” raise their “own source revenues,” which is Ottawa’s code for taxation or forms of taxation.

This is the policy that many bands are currently negotiating under to get out of the Indian Act — essentially they are converting into a municipal-type government.

Despite the talk of nation-to-nation relationships, the Trudeau government is maintaining this municipal model of self-government and extinguishment of Aboriginal title through what are called modern treaties.

This was confirmed by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould when she told APTN that the Trudeau government will get rid of the Indian Act one community at a time through “sectoral government initiatives” to “bi-lateral self government agreements” to “comprehensively negotiating a treaty under the modern treaty process.”





Thanks, kropotkin. I had to copy that article and make it a Word document, as I find it very hard to read long Ricochet articles with their formattng.


Thanks, kropotkin. I had to copy that article and make it a Word document, as I find it very hard to read long Ricochet articles with their formattng.


The betrayal continues. Can't let those Indigenous folks actually, you know, control land and natural resources.

Jody Wilson-Raybould lays out vision for UN Indigenous rights declaration

The "vision" is, pretend to support UNDRIP, and carry on business as usual.



Petition in support of Romeo Saganash's Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We call upon the Canadian government to fully adopt and implement the Declaration, and stand up for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. We call on Canada to adopt Bill C-262 to this effect.

Sign today.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Consult or Consent: A Critical Discussion on UNDRIP

When - Fri, 18 November, 19:00 – 21:00

Where - Circle of Life Thunderbird House, 715 Main St, Winnipeg

Join us for an evening of music, food and critical discussion on Land Rights, UNDRIP, FPIC and Bill C-262*.

We will open with a prayer from Elder Gramma Shingoose followed by music from Indian City and a panel discussion moderated by CBC Indigenous Associate Producer Lenard Monkman.

Panelists include:

Robert Falcon-Ouelette, M.P. Winnipeg Centre
Romeo Saganash, M.P. Abitibi--Baie-James--Nunavik--Eeyou
Sylvia Mcadam, Activist and Organizer with Idle No More

*Bill C-262 is an act created to ensure that the laws in Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Indigenous consent is a right. Will the GreeNDP honour it?

A key implication of the power-sharing agreement between the BC NDP and BC Green parties is that consent from First Nations will be taken seriously when their lands or waters could be affected by natural resource and energy projects.

The agreement prominently features their collective support for the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2014 landmark Tsilhqot’in decision. That decision, in case you missed it, established that in the absence of a treaty, Indigenous peoples' rights apply not just to densely-inhabited areas but to the full extent of their ancestral territory, and outlined the Crown’s obligations for obtaining First Nations’ consent.

In both documents, the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent is central.


Under Canada’s federal system, neither the federal nor provincial governments wield absolute power. The two levels of government may have varying interests and attitudes toward a particular project, and rejection by one or the other may prevent a project’s advance. For example, the federal government recently rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, even though the province of Alberta sought the project’s approval. Nobody called that a veto and neither should we when Indigenous governments withhold consent.

The Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in ruling means that Canada can no longer unilaterally make decisions about unceded Indigenous land. This is especially true in B.C. where very few treaties exist.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Adopt and Implement the UN Declaration

Now is the crucial time to Adopt and Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We're building a movement of united voices from across the country who are committed to seeing the UN Declaration fully adopted and implemented.

Indigenous Peoples have been pushing for the Declaration for over 30 years - and the issues have not been resolved during that time.

Will you add your voice to the calls for Canada to move forward on a path - not just towards reconciliation, but a path towards equality and justice?


I don't think the g-word applies in Canada.  No gas chambers here. Some little wars and too many natives killed.  Am I a racist and white supremicist ? . What was the alternative to residental school ? No schools ?  Maybe one school per reserve would have been best.



I don't think the g-word applies in Canada. 


Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide


Article 2