OTTAWA – The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) recognizes the Government of Canada’s recent decision to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in accordance with the Canadian Constitution and without “qualification.”
The IBA was interested in the Minister of Indigenous Affairs’ announcement regarding the Declaration, “breathing life into Section 35 and recognizing it as a full box of rights for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” Ms. Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association, stated in response ‘the Declaration is much more than a refinement of section 35 of the Constitution. It has the potential to be transformative of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada.
Adopting UNDRIP, in addition to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, provides the Government with the necessary principles to improve the nation-to-nation relationship as envisioned by the parties at the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. A nation-to-nation relationship whereby the Government recognizes and promotes the dignity, survival and well-being of this country’s original inhabitants, remedies the legacy of residential schools and advances the process of reconciliation. “Adoption is the first step. We look forward to working with the federal government on the many ways in which the Declaration must be implemented by Canada in order to demonstrate its full commitment to a nation-to-nation relationship.” said Lightning-Earle.
Ms. Lightning-Earle calls upon the current Government of Canada to, “abolish its long standing historical policy of attempting to assimilate Indigenous Peoples and denying them their rightful place in all facets of Canada, including the economy and legal system. In addition, Ms. Lightning-Earle says, “a new relationship must develop where the Government honours and respects Treaties, recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and upholds rights to lands, territories and resources.”
The IBA is a national association comprised of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) lawyers, legal academics, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. The IBA is a not-for-profit federal corporation mandated, amongst other things, to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada, as well as the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.