In September 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) following over 25 years of work.  Overwhelming support was demonstrated with 144 states voting in favour of the declaration. This monumental adoption affirms the minimum standards required for the “survival, dignity, and well-being of indigenous people of the world.”The UNDRIP recognizes the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples including fundamental human rights for First Nations such as inherent rights to traditional lands and territories, self-determination,  and unqualified recognition of First Nations peoples, cultures, languages, and identities.

However, Canada is one of only four nations to have voted against the UNDRIP.  Australia has since decided to support the UNDRIP, and the United States and New Zealand are currently reviewing their position.  Canada’s House of Commons passed a motion on April 8, 2008 endorsing the UNDRIP and calling upon Parliament and the Government of Canada to “fully implement the standards contained therein”; however, Canada has yet to sign on.

First Nations are continuing to demonstrate the need for Canada to adopt this UNDRIP as it will profoundly benefit First Nations and non-First Nations alike.

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