Yesterday, the Canadian Press wrote an article about the B.C. All Chief’s Task Force and the messages we are trying to have heard.  That article was published around the country in many different publications.  Through publications like Macleans Magazine, CTV Vancouver, Yahoo! News, Winnepeg Free Press and Metro Vancouver people are starting to take notice.

Now is the time to focus on the issues of poverty, title and rights, our missing and murdered women and human rights abuses.  Canada has a duty to the Indigenous peoples living within its borders and must sign on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

CTV Vancouver article:

BC Indian Chiefs launch Olympic rights campaign

VANCOUVER – A group of B.C. First Nations leaders says it will carry out a campaign during the Winter Games to pressure Canada to sign a UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Like the Lubicon Cree did during the Calgary Games in 1988, members of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit and the B.C. Association of First Nations say they will target the national and international media in town for the Olympics.

“We support the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Chief Wayne Christian, chairman of the union’s working group and spokesman for the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

Christian applauded Olympic organizers for including the Four Host First Nations, the bands upon whose territories the Games will take place.

Over the next few days the torch relay will pass through several aboriginal communities and feature prominently First Nations culture as it nears the Feb. 12 start date of the Games.

“Yet, while this is a great starting point, there is much work which still needs to be done after the Games to address aboriginal human rights, poverty, missing and murdered women, and rights and title,” Christian said in a statement. He was not immediately available to comment.

The UN general assembly passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007 by a 143-4 margin.

Canada, along with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, did not endorse it. Australia has since done so and New Zealand has indicated it is reviewing its position.

The UN declaration affirms the equality of the world’s more than 370 million indigenous peoples and their right to maintain their own institutions, cultures and spiritual traditions. It also establishes standards to combat discrimination and marginalization and eliminate human rights violations against them.

Cliff Atleo, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council on Vancouver Island, said Canada’s reputation as an international leader on human rights is at stake.

During the 1988 Games in Calgary the Lubicon Cree held high-profile protests to try and force the government to settle their land claim.

The campaign was highly successful, drawing worldwide attention to their fight – for a time. Despite the headlines around the globe, the Lubicon continue that fight today.

Unlike the Lubicon effort, Beverley Clifton Percival, a treaty negotiator for the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, said the 2010 campaign will not focus on public events but in spreading the word to the international media.

“We have a treaty process in British Columbia that is not working, we have murdered and missing women in our communities that have not been dealt with, we face high levels of poverty and social challenges…,” she said.

There are issues of rights and title, and recognition, she said.

“We are hoping to raise awareness.”

The declaration is not binding on member nations, and support is largely symbolic but Canadian government officials have said the wording of it is too broad and in conflict with Canadian law and practice, especially regarding land claims and natural resources.

A UN report last summer on Canada’s human rights record urged the government to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the government said it still had concerns with the wording of the document

Advertisements