"The TRC has stated that the Declaration is the framework for reconciliation. As churches and ecumenical agencies, we are also responding to the TRC’s call to adopt and comply with the Declaration as the framework of reconciliation. Moreover, our membership has actively supported Bill C-262 at all stages of the legislative process. We ask all Senators to support Bill C-262, ensuring its passage through Committee and 3rd reading."
- From an open letter sent by faith houses to Senators in February 2019. Read full letter here
Faith in the Declaration is a coalition of Canadian faith houses and faith organizations working together to support the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action, which outlined the findings of a years long investigation into the residential school system in Canada, faith groups, more than ever before, were called upon to right the wrongs of the past.
Call to Action 48 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reads:
We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:
i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
i.v. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Faith in the Declaration
In 2016, NDP Member of Parliament, Romeo Saganash introduced Bill C-262, a piece of legislation that, if passed, would create a legislative framework to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Bill C-262, or the UN Declaration Act as it came to be known, received huge amounts of support from across Canada. Some of the most steadfast supporters being faith communities.
The Bill, after passing through the House of Commons and gaining the support of elected MP's was ultimately blocked by undemocratic maneuvering within the Senate.
As part of his 2019 election platform, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to introducing new legislation regarding the UN Declaration. After his re-election, the Prime Minister, in the Speech from the Throne and the mandate letters to Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and Minister of Justice David Lametti, committed to table new Declaration legislation—co-developed with Indigenous Peoples—by the end of 2020.
Faith in the Declaration seeks to represent various Church houses from across Canada in our support of the timely passing of legislation that will implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law.
Photo: MP Romeo Saganash speaking at an event in support of Bill C-262 organized by Mennonite Church Canada
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive international human rights instrument to specifically address Indigenous Peoples' economic, social, cultural, political, civil, spiritual and environmental rights. In its own words, the Declaration sets out minimum standards necessary for the “dignity, survival and well-being” of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the Declaration on 13 September 2007. This historic adoption followed more than 20 years of deliberation and debate in which Indigenous Peoples worked directly with states to elaborate upon and advance their human rights.
The Declaration affirms the inherent or pre-existing collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the human rights of Indigenous individuals. It provides a framework for justice and reconciliation, applying existing human rights standards to the specific historical, cultural and social circumstances of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN Declaration
Legislation implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is supported by the above ecumenical houses/organizations ... the contents of this site do not necessarily represent the views of all of the above churches/organizations in every instance. All statements and press releases on this site reflect the views of those and others whose names are listed as having given their endorsement to those specific statements and press releases.