A Day to Celebrate!
On November 26th the Province of BC adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into legislation. BC is the first province to commit to aligning its laws with UNDRIP. This legislation is the first steps towards the meaningful implementation of UNDRIP.
What does this mean?
This Act has the potential to establish a new approach on the part of the Province which recognizes indigenous Peoples’ laws and jurisdiction in respect to ancestral lands.
- The government must take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of BC are consistent with UNDRIP.
- The government must prepare and implement an action plan, in consultation with Indigenous peoples, to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP.
- The government must prepare an annual report on the progress that has been made towards implementing the measures.
The legislation also creates the opportunity for the establishment for a framework of shared decision making between the Province and Indigenous governments. Both the Premier and Minister have stated that the UNDRIP legislation does not provide Indigenous nations a veto.
Why Is this Important?
The UNDRIP legislation is an important step for the decolonization of the existing colonial structures and laws. This is the first step towards transforming the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Province and institutionalizing the respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples.
This bill is also important as it creates more accountability by requiring action plans and annual reporting. This is also the first time that First Nations Leadership has working with Government for the drafting of legislation.
This is a fundamental shift away from consultation towards consent-based decision making. This legislation is also important step towards recognizing and protecting the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples which might not otherwise meet the requirements developed in respect of section 35.
This legislation is a real step towards the meaningful recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in BC.
Tḱemlúps Chief and Council celebrates this victory and is committed to being leaders in the implementation of UNDRIP on behalf of membership.