Within Friday’s statement of support, Canada declared:
“In endorsing the Declaration, Canada reaffirms its commitment to build on a positive and productive relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to improve the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians, based on our shared history, respect, and a desire to move forward together.”
Of the four countries, Canada has been one of the most vocal dissenters, taking issue with the Declaration’s inclusion of the rights of Indigenous self-determination, land rights, and the need for ‘free, prior, and informed consent’ before enacting legislation that affects indigenous peoples. Within their statement of support, Canada writes that those concerns are “well known and remain,” but that “we are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the Declaration in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.”
Canada’s historic decision, while long overdue, is an important step in continuing nation-to-nation relations between settler-state and Indigenous governments. With now three of the four dissenting nations reversing their stance on the UNDRIP, the US stands alone in refusing to endorse the Declaration. President Obama, the move is yours.