Posts Tagged “Policy”
4. We call upon the federal government to enact Aboriginal child-welfare legislation that establishes national standards for Aboriginal child apprehension and custody cases and includes principles that:
i. Affirm the right of Aboriginal governments to establish and maintain their own child-welfare agencies.
ii. Require all child-welfare agencies and courts to take the residential school legacy into account in their decision making.
iii. Establish, as an important priority, a requirement that placements of Aboriginal children into temporary and permanent care be culturally appropriate.
Verify that governments at all levels ratify legislation which ensures a particular set standard for the care of Aboriginal children, and that this legislation involves an understanding regarding the circumstances in which Aboriginal children may be apprehended, as well as for custody cases.
The following principles would be included:
- The legislation would allow Aboriginal governments to have jurisdiction over their own child-welfare institutions.
- Confirm that all child-welfare groups take in to consideration the impact and effect of residential schools when making decisions
- Verify that care facilities be culturally appropriate for all Aboriginal children
10. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
i. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation.
ii. Improving education attainment levels and success rates.
iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.
iv. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
v. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems.
vi. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.
vii. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships.
There is limited access to quality education at all levels in Aboriginal communities, especially in the North and in rural areas, and education is underfunded at all levels for Aboriginal youth. Over the past 15 years, there has been no measurable improvement in high school completion rates: 41% of First Nations youth living off-reserve do not complete high school, while 58% of First Nations youth living on-reserve do not. Only 6% of Canada’s Aboriginal population holds a university degree, relative to over 22% of Canadians overall.
Aboriginal Canadians are, however, Canada’s youngest and fastest-growing population, but despite this generation of youth being the first generation not to have experienced residential schools, there may be a lingering sense of distrust towards education within their families. This Call to Action aims to include Aboriginal communities in developing solutions for these problems, including increasing education funding and ensuring that curricula meet the needs of Aboriginal youth.
Further reading: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/widening-education-gap-leaves-aboriginal-canadians-further-behind/article14738527/
Compiled by: Grant Oyston
14. We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:
i. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
ii. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.
iii.The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
vi. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
v. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.
14. To preserve Aboriginal languages which is reinforced by treaties. The Government of Canada has a responsibility to fund Aboriginal language recovery and protection. This recovery of Aboriginal language is to be managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
Compiled by: Jeanine Morley
15. We call upon the federal government to appoint, in consultation with Aboriginal groups, an Aboriginal Languages Commissioner. The commissioner should help promote Aboriginal languages and report on the adequacy of federal funding of Aboriginal-languages initiatives.
15. Appoint an Aboriginal languages commissioner who will help promote Aboriginal languages and report on the funding that is given for Aboriginal-languages initiatives.
Compiled by: Jeanine Morley
17. We call upon all levels of government to enable residential school Survivors and their families to reclaim names changed by the residential school system by waiving administrative costs for a period of five years for the name-change process and the revision of official identity documents, such as birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, health cards, status cards, and social insurance numbers.
17. Residential school survivors and their families are allowed to regain their traditional names. Waving fees on the name change process and to give said individual’s revised official documents (i.e. birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, health cards, status cards, and social insurance numbers.)
Compiled by: Jeanine Morley
- We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to acknowledge that the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools, and to recognize and implement the health-care rights of Aboriginal people as identified in international law, constitutional law, and under the Treaties.
18. Understand that the health of Aboriginal peoples is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, which includes residential schools. Health care rights are to be given to Aboriginal people as identified in international law, constitutional law, and under the Treaties.
Compiled by: Jeanine Morley
29. We call upon the parties and, in particular, the federal government, to work collaboratively with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to have disputed legal issues determined expeditiously on an agreed set of facts.
This recommendation aims to readdresses through a fair and public inquiry, the abuses faced by former students who were supposed to be compensated fairly by the IRSSA. Private law practitioners exploited their indigenous clients who were at a socioeconomic disadvantage to understand these legal processes, and a more relatable legal team without insidious agendas would prevent that from happening again. This recommendation calls for that justice to finally begin to be served.
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is the largest class action settlement that has ever occurred in the Canadian legal system; this settlement calls to address the severe cultural, mental, and systematic problems that arose from the existence of residential schools on Canadian soil. With the implementation of the Indian Act over 100 years ago, the Canadian government began taking children from their homes and communities, and enrolling them in mandatory Catholic or Protestant school systems.
The children were essentially held captive; they were banned from practicing their respective religion, speaking their own language, or communicating with their families…all in an effort to destroy Native American culture. This was not the only problem faced by indigenous children, they also endured tremendous psychological, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their ‘educators’, actions that still need to be addressed and reprimanded by the Canadian government. Thousands of indigenous peoples would benefit from expeditious parties determining if the IRSSA has biased clauses discrediting the struggles endures by indigenous communities.
32. We call upon the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to allow trial judges, upon giving reasons, to depart from mandatory minimum sentences and restrictions on the use of conditional sentences.
The Conservative government of Canada has proven again and again its insensitivity towards minority groups and their respective needs, before being replaced by the Liberals, their tough-on-crime mentality brought up the minimum sentencing for many crimes. Particularly for minor crimes or incidents that may conflict with the traditional values of indigenous populations, the use of mandatory sentencing as an aid for society is extremely redundant. Judges that are imposed with minimum sentencing restrictions will not be able to address the factors leading to the case in their court to make a sound decision, further disenfranchising already struggling communities with solid legal barriers.
Due to the influence of discrimination and disenfranchisement causing indigenous youth to become more susceptible to criminal behavior, the over-representation of indigenous peoples in Canadian prison systems will worsen. Furthermore, this takes away from their cultures autonomy to determine the suitable punishment for crimes, and take away opportunities for growth that include community-oriented interventions such as Healing Circles or Cultural Skills. Vulnerable populations should be helped, rather than hindered, by this country’s judicial processes and the judges doing so must be able to exercise their own logic in determining sentencing.
40. We call on all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, to create adequately funded and accessible Aboriginal – specific victim programs and services with appropriate evaluation mechanisms.
This recommendation focuses on Aboriginal people as regular victims within the Canadian legal system and larger society. The recommendation calls for more victim specific programs and services to be properly funded and available to Canada’s Aboriginal people. In terms of reconciliation, this is key to rebuild the relationship between Aboriginal people and the Canadian government. These programs and service will rebuild a trust and good working conditions to make these programs effective. Key in making these programs and services effective is availability within Aboriginal communities. The point of this recommendation is to draw attention to the staggering inequalities present within the legal systems of Canada.
Compiled by: Matthew Thibeau
41. We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include:
i. Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls
ii. Links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools.
This recommendation addresses the startling treatment of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. And is about the federal government of Canada working together with Aboriginal communities and organizations in dealing with a serious national problem.
The numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are horrifying. This recommendation is important because it draws attention to how Aboriginal peoples, specifically women have been treated and ignored in this country.
The recommendation could be implemented through a number of ways:
Get the government to launch an investigation.
Set up campaigns online and within schools and universities.
Find a way to get proper media coverage.
Write a report or set up a website or area for studies to be conducted about intergenerational effects of residential schools.
There have been calls for inquiry from both amnesty international and the UN
Is something finally going to be done?
42. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to commit to the recognition and implementation of Aboriginal justice systems in a manner consistent with the Treaty and Aboriginal rights of Aboriginal peoples, the Constitution Act, 1982, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by Canada in November 2012.
We ask that Aboriginal rights and legal practices be immediately implemented in the Canadian Code of Law such as British Common Law and French Civil Law is.
-Aboriginal law more than spiritual beliefs or traditions. It is a group of legal doctrines based upon such defining Canadian documents such as the Royal Proclamation Act of 1763 which granted special land rights for aboriginal peoples.
-It is also based upon Canada’s founding document, the Constitution Act of 1867 which essentially created the Indian Act, a treaty that directly influences how the federal government interacts with aboriginals.
-Arguably the most important part of this discussion is the amendment to the Constitution Act in 1982 which recognized aboriginal treaty and land rights.
-John Borrows argues in his book, Canada’s Indigenous Constitution that Canada has the ability to incorporate Aboriginal legal practices because of its ability to cooperate between Common and Civil Law for hundreds of years.
-He also argues that constitutional entrenchment of treaties through the Constitution Act of 1982 similarly entrenches the legal traditions informing these agreements.
-This recommendation is being included because aboriginal peoples have various diverse and sophisticated legal practices all across Canada that are not represented in Canada’s legal system.
-This recommendation is important because when the French settlers first interacted with the indigenous peoples in the 17th century, they were very accommodating of indigenous legal traditions. As time has gone on we have taken steps backwards in tolerance, and need to return to respecting their traditions and practices.
-With the way legal education is allocating more focus towards aboriginal law, this recommendation should have no problem being implemented into the Canadian Legal System, it is only a matter of time.
Compiled By: Matthew Fancy
43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
The Declaration addresses matters of cultural preservation, racism, sovereignty, health, and other aspects of challenges that indigenous peoples face in the hopes of creating better relationships between native populations and the state. Canada has been unique in its unwillingness to adopt the declaration, and the past government’s reasoning for this was that it could not support the section that asserted states must seek “free, prior and informed consent” from indigenous peoples before taking action that would infringe upon treaty rights.
The TRC recommends that Canada implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples so to solidify Canada’s commitment to reconciliation.
An on-line version of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a document which lists the rights that all indigenous peoples of participating countries would have and outlines agreements that participating countries must make to ameliorate their treatment of indigenous peoples and advance the process of reconciliation. For instance the document affirms that “indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind” and states that “indigenous peoples…have the right to autonomy or self government”
44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The government needs to create plans and strategies to deal with victimization of aboriginal people, and implement their rights such as the United Nations has declared.
-Referring back to recommendation #39, the proof is there to show that the government definitely needs to increase their planning to deal with the victimization of aboriginal peoples.
-The decision by the UN is important because it shows that not only Canada is concerned with aboriginal peoples rights, but in fact this is an international initiative.
-The inclusions of the UN in this situation is key because many countries in the world have indigenous populations, and the fact that the UN stepped in for Canada means that they may step in for other countries as well.
-An interesting note is that only 4 countries voted against the UN’s declaration of 2007, those countries were the ones with the most prominent aboriginal populations. These countries were Canada, United States, New Zealand, and Australia. What does this say about these countries when their own governments vote against a document that calls for more rights for their aboriginal peoples?
Compiled By: Matthew Fancy
46. We call upon the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to develop and sign a Covenant of Reconciliation that would identify principles for working collaboratively to advance reconciliation in Canadian society, and that would include, but not be limited to:
i. Reaffirmation of the parties’ commitment to reconciliation.
ii. Repudiation of concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and the reformation of laws, governance structures, and policies within their respective institutions that continue to rely on such concepts.
iii. Full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
iv. Support for the renewal or establishment of Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships into the future.
v. Enabling those excluded from the Settlement Agreement to sign onto the Covenant of Reconciliation.
vi. Enabling additional parties to sign onto the Covenant of Reconciliation.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls upon the parties of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (the federal Government and The United Church of Canada) to develop and sign a “Covenant of Reconciliation,” that would outline a plan for working together to contribute toward reconciliation in Canadian society. The principles for this plan would include, but are not limited to:
- To confirm that all parties are committed to reconciliation
- To renounce and discredit all concepts used to justify European Sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discover and terra nullius, and to reform laws, government structures and policies within their institutions that continue to rely on such concepts.
- Adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
- Support the reestablishment of Treaty relationships based on mutual recognition, respect and a shared responsibility for maintaining these relationships in the future.
- Allowing those not included in the Settlement Agreement to sign onto the “Covenant of Reconciliation.”
- Allowing other parties to sign onto the “Covenant of Reconciliation.”
With rights violations in Canada like no access to clean drinking water or proper housing, adopting the UNDRIP would require immediate attention to these issues.
Canada Was Never Terra Nullius International Law Doctrine, Practice and Theory.
Candian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement Legacy of Hope Foundation.
Compiled by: Samuel Bigelow
47. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to renounce and discredit legal doctrines and concepts that reinforce European sovereignty over indigenous peoples and lands. Doctrines like the Doctrine of Discovery are rooted in colonial concepts like terra nullius, which claimed sovereignty over aboriginal lands. Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples also has recommended that the government recognize the Doctrine of Discovery to be “legally, morally and factually wrong.” Will denouncing these terms help end the era of neo-colonialism and segregation?
Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, The Justice System and Aboriginal People, The Aboriginal justice Implementation Commission.
Aboriginal Rights, Indigenous Foundations, UBC.
Doctrine of Discovery, Digital Wampum.
Compiled by: Samuel Bigelow
48. 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:
- Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- 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.
- Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- 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.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls upon, church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups to adopt the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Taking on this declaration would include, but are not limited to the following commitments:
Establishing that all aspects of their institutions, policies, programs and practices comply with the UNDRIP.
Respect Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters. This would include the right to practice, develop and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies. Consistent with article 12:1 of the UNDRIP.
i. To be active in public dialogue and actions to support the UNDRIP.
ii. Issuing a statement by March 31st, 2016, on behalf of all religious and faith groups, on a plan for action they plan to take to implement the UNDRIP.
Did you know that the UNDRIP was adopted by 144 countries, while only four countries voted against the declaration. Canada was one of these four countries and has not yet since fully adopted the declaration yet.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Foundations, UBC.
Implementing the UNDRIP,Assembly of First Nations, AFN.
UNDRIP animation, Insight Share.
Compiled by: Samuel Bigelow
52. We call upon the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and the courts to adopt the following legal principles:
i. Aboriginal title claims are accepted once the Aboriginal claimant has established occupation over a particular territory at a particular point in time.
ii.Once Aboriginal title has been established, the burden of proving any limitation on any rights arising from the existence of that title shifts to the party asserting such a limitation.
Many court cases have outlined how Aboriginal title is proven. Proving Aboriginal title is extremely important, as in many areas of Canada, the Government never signed treaties with local Indigenous peoples. Many Indigenous peoples thus still claim legal title over their ancestral land that was never ceded within a treaty. In most cases, Aboriginal title awards the same rights as private ownership. There is therefore great incentive for Indigenous groups of people to prove their title over their ancestral land. But there are also many reasons for other parties to want to disprove Aboriginal title. Many parties have argued in the courts for tougher standards for Indigenous peoples to prove their title to land, such as by claiming Indigenous peoples needed to prove extensive use of the land. However, in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that only 3 things were required for Indigenous peoples to prove their title (Delgamuukw v British Columbia, para. 143), which were summarized in 2014 as:
- Sufficiency—There must be evidence that Indigenous peoples occupied the land before European contact
- Continuity—Occupation of this land must be continuous between the present and contact
- Exclusivity—at the time of contact, the Indigenous group must be the sole group claiming control of the territory. (Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia, para. 32)
Essentially, what this recommendation is saying is that once these three things have been proven, Indigenous peoples have full legal rights over their territory, and they cannot be infringed upon unless it can be proven to be justifiable
Aboriginal Title, Defenders of the Land.
Aboriginal Title Common Law, Wikipedia.
Compiled by Jonathan Wearing
53. “We call upon the parliament of Canada, in consultation and collaborative with Aboriginal Peoples, to enact legislation to establish A National Council for Reconciliation”
What this means: We want the government to acknowledge that there are issues that still require reconciliation and in order to ensure that this requirement is fulfilled, a National Council must be established. This will ensure that the public and the people will have a transparent view on the process and therefore, be assured that proper action is carried out.
Atoning for ‘cultural genocide’: Truth and Reconciliation Commission lays out its blueprint, Mark Kennedy, National Post.
Compiled by: Irfana Hameed
54. “We call upon the Government of Canada to provide multi-year funding for the National Council for Reconciliation to ensure that it has the financial, human, and technical resources required to conduct its work, including the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust to advance the cause of reconciliation.”
Once the National Council for Reconciliation has been established, we want the government to provide adequate funding to carry out the specifics of the process of reconciliation. Thus ensuring that policies will not remain just policies and this funding will ensure the guarantee of action and enable the opportunity to do so.
Residential Schools was Cultural Genocide, Anglican Journal.
Compiled by: Irfana Hameed
56. We call upon the prime minister of Canada to formally respond to the report of the National Council for Reconciliation by issuing an annual “State of Aboriginal Peoples” report, which would outline the government’s plans for advancing the cause of reconciliation.
The TRC calls on the current Prime Minister of Canada (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), to formally respond to the report that the National Council for Reconciliation will create, by issuing an annual “State of Aboriginal Peoples” report—outlining how the government plans on achieving the end goal of reconciliation.
An analysis of the question: “Can Trudeau deliver on his First Nations promises?” Trudeau has committed to a National Inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, a promise to a return of nation-to-nation relationships between Indigenous peoples, an end to interventionist policies and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and the principle of informed consent reinforced in policy reform. The article addresses the ambitious platform of the new leader of Canada, and poses a note of caution towards his going forward with his commitments.
We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
ii.Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
In a few words: The corporate sector must also respect Indigenous rights.
What does this mean in simple English?
- Genuinely consulting Indigenous groups before developing industrial projects on their land
- Not assuming economic interest automatically take priority over Indigenous interests
- Working to involve Indigenous peoples in the workforce, especially on development projects that take place on their land
- Making sure all employees have an understanding of Indigenous history and culture, especially when working on development projects which take place on Indigenous territory.
Compiled by Jonathan Wearing
We call upon the Government of Canada to replace the Oath of Citizenship with the following:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
In a few words: Update the Oath of Canadian Citizenship to include a pledge to respect Indigenous treaties
What does this mean in simple English?
This is a straightforward recommendation. All this recommendation is saying is that the citizenship oath, something at the heart of what it means to be a Canadian citizen, should include reference to the treaties which exist between many nations in Canada—Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Canada is a nation that was founded on the principles of peaceful coexistence between nations. Like a Two-Row Wampum Belt, Indigenous and immigrant peoples from the beginning of Canadian history pledged to live together. It is only fitting that new citizens also pledge to uphold this relationship.
From a policy perspective, this would be one of the easiest recommendations to implement, as all it would require is an amendment to the Citizenship Act. There would be no real shift of policy, nor would it involve any new spending. The only thing necessary is the political will to amend legislation. Individuals pressing their Members of Parliament to implement this (and other) recommendation(s) will help lead to its implementation.
Compiled by Jonathan Wearing