Hearing from Indigenous peoples
We are grateful for the input from First Nation and Indigenous peoples on the draft action plan to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
The Province invited Indigenous peoples in B.C. – members and leadership of First Nations and Treaty Nations, Métis people, Indigenous people living in urban areas and representatives of Indigenous organizations – to share their feedback on the provincial government’s draft plan to meet the objectives of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).
This engagement will help to shape the provincial government’s work with First Nations and Indigenous peoples to advance reconciliation in B.C. over the next five years.
Introduction to the Declaration Act Draft Action Plan
In November 2019, British Columbia unanimously passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) in the Legislative Assembly. The Province of British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) through legislation, recognizing in law the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
The Act requires the Province to develop and implement an action plan, in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples, to meet the objectives of the UN Declaration. The provincial government is committed to implementing these human rights in the Province’s institutions, laws, policies and practices to advance reconciliation and address the legacy and harms of colonialism on Indigenous peoples.
The draft action plan outlines significant actions that the Province and Indigenous peoples have identified together and propose to work on over the next five years. The draft action plan was built through a year of discussions with First Nations and Indigenous partners. It also drew from priorities identified through a variety of agreements with First Nations and Indigenous organizations and through advocacy and leadership from Indigenous peoples over many years.
The proposed actions aim to support changes in beliefs, behaviours and systems that will begin to shift the status quo, address Indigenous-specific racism and establish new foundations in government that reflect the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
The draft action plan reflects that First Nations, Métis and Inuit are distinct peoples with unique cultures, histories, rights and legal traditions in what is now B.C., and the Province’s relationship with each will reflect these distinctions.
On June 11, 2021, the Province released a draft of the action plan, to seek input and feedback from Indigenous peoples. The online engagement period was extended to ensure sufficient time for input in the face of wildfires, increasing COVID-19 cases and findings at residential schools site. The input provided will be used to finalize the action plan.
Theme 1: Self-determination and self-governance
Goal: Indigenous peoples exercise and have full enjoyment of their rights to self-determination and self-government, including developing, maintaining and implementing their own institutions, laws, governing bodies, and political, economic and social structures related to Indigenous communities.
Theme 2: Indigenous title and rights
Goal: Indigenous peoples exercise and have full enjoyment of their rights, including the rights of First Nations to own, use, develop and control lands and resources within their territories in B.C.
Theme 3: Ending Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination
Goal: Indigenous peoples fully enjoy, express and exercise their rights without interpersonal, systemic and institutional interference, oppression or other limitations associated with Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination.
Theme 4: Social, cultural, and economic well-being
Goal: Indigenous peoples in B.C. fully enjoy and exercise their distinct rights to maintain, control, develop, protect and transmit their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, languages, food systems, sciences and technologies; supported by initiatives that promote connection, development, access and improvement, as well as full participation in all aspects of British Columbia’s economy. This includes particular focus on ensuring the rights of women, youth, elders, children, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to live freely and without discrimination.