THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy is urging the federal government to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). “Treaties 9 and 5 were signed on a nation to nation basis under the international law therefore, it?s essential that Canada sign the UNDRIP to continue to maintain the honour of the British Crown,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.

The UNDRIP recognizes the collective rights of Aboriginal people living in Canada including the inherent rights to traditional lands and territories, self-determination, and recognition of culture and language. To date, Canada remains one of the only countries refusing to adopt the UNDRIP. “By Canada signing the Declaration, it sends a strong signal to the rest of the world. It shows Canada is sincere in its apology to the First Nations regarding the residential school experience,” said Beardy. “It will also show that Canada recognizes there must be meaningful consultation and accommodation and that consent is required from First Nations to conduct any business in our territory.”

The UNDRIP states „shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.?In the 2010 Federal Throne Speech, the Government of Canada stated “We are a country with an Aboriginal heritage. A growing number of states have given qualified recognition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Our Government will take steps to endorse this aspirational document in a manner fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws.” However, the Federal Government failed to make any recognition of the UNDRIP in the 2010 federal budget.

The BC All Chiefs Task Force recently launched a letter writing and post card campaign in that province encouraging communities and leadership to contact the Prime Minister?s office about adopting the UNDRIP.

Since Canada voted against signing the UNDRIP in September 2007, NAN has been active in raising its concerns with industry and provincial cabinet leaders including at the Ontario Premier?s level. NAN has also decided to establish a letter writing campaign for its First Nations leaders.