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Province seeks input from Indigenous peoples to shape future of reconciliation

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 1:49 PDT, Fri June 11, 2021

Last Updated: 1:51 PDT, Fri June 11, 2021

The provincial government is asking Indigenous peoples for additional feedback on the draft action plan required under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

"British Columbia made history when we became the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the United Nations (UN) Declaration, but passing this legislation was only one step on our journey to advance reconciliation and undo 150 years of colonial harms that continue to be felt to this day," said Premier John Horgan. "While we still have much to do, we believe the proposed actions in this draft plan demonstrate our government's commitment to pursuing true and meaningful reconciliation together with Indigenous peoples. Part of our changing relationship is a commitment to the idea of 'nothing about us without us.' That is why we are asking for further feedback on this draft action plan from all First Nations and Indigenous peoples and organizations in B.C."

The consultation draft of the action plan identifies 79 specific actions developed in partnership by the province, First Nations and Indigenous peoples to help advance the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

"We are very grateful for the leadership, expertise and commitment of the Indigenous partners who have engaged with us on the important work of developing this consultation draft," said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. "We are now looking for further input from all Indigenous peoples in B.C., so we can make sure the finalized action plan appropriately represents their priorities."

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act requires the provincial government to develop and implement an action plan in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples. Ministries across government have been engaging with First Nations and Indigenous partners over the past year to develop the draft action plan. Feedback collected between now and July 31 will be used to finalize the action plan later this year.

The draft action plan outlines key actions the province proposes to take over the next five years across government to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It includes actions in the areas of self-determination and self-government, rights and title, ending anti-Indigenous racism and social, cultural and economic well-being.

The draft action plan does not include all of the province's work on reconciliation. Much work is currently planned or underway. That will continue in parallel with the work under the action plan, including separate work to align laws to the UN Declaration.

There are a number of ways to provide feedback. First Nations and Indigenous peoples and organizations are invited to visit the website to provide comments directly online, fill out a feedback form online or in hard copy, or make a submission in writing. In addition, provincial government staff will be reaching out directly to engage with a wide range of Indigenous organizations, leadership tables and First Nations communities.

More information can be found at engage.gov.bc.ca/declaration.

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