Canada must demonstrate a clear commitment to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples affirmed in Treaties, and articulated in both domestic and international law. Such a commitment must ensure Indigenous peoples’ full and effective participation in decisions that could affect those rights.
Prime Minister Harper will be meeting with First Nations leaders this Friday to discuss issues, including those related to economic development and Treaty implementation.
The meeting comes after more than a month of unprecedented public mobilization sparked by a government legislative agenda which has far reaching impacts on the rights of Indigenous peoples, and advanced without meaningful consultation or consent. The mobilization included grassroots demonstrations across Canada under the banner of “Idle No More”. The mobilization has also included an ongoing hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat.
Last week, 36 prominent Indigenous peoples’, human rights, and environmental organizations issued a public statement outlining very serious concerns with the government’s actions with regard to its legislative agenda. Such actions erode democracy, the rule of law and integrity of Parliament.
The statement emphasized, “Cooperative and harmonious relations cannot be achieved by devaluing Treaties or by unilateral government actions.” The statement concluded: “It is tragic that a hunger strike and Canada-wide protests are necessary in order for Indigenous peoples to bring attention to violations of their dignity, Treaties and human rights.”
Read the Joint Statement (updated January 9th).