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UNsettling Canada with a tipi on Parliament Hill

Late last night, Indigenous peoples, Black Lives Matter activists and settler allies erected a tipi on Parliament Hill after being blocked by police for several hours. Our Political Director Brent Patterson was there with his family helping to put the tipi up.

He writes ” It couldn’t have been more representative of the lack of truth and reconciliation on the eve of Canada 150 – Indigenous peoples holding heavy tipi poles on their shoulders for hours with the absolute belief that the tipi would go up on this unsurrendered territory while the RCMP pushed back for hours (before finally giving in to the inevitability that it would go up). The tipi went up around 2 am with amazing collaboration and cooperation amongst all of us. Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day (from the Serpent River First Nation) was there at the end helping to put the tipi up and to give closing words. He is the one who called on Trudeau to end all boil water advisories within five years during the last election.”

The Council of Canadians has endorsed Idle No More’s “UNsettling Canada 150” call to action. That call includes these three demands:

1 A new open truly Nation-to-Nation recognition process that begins by fully recognizing Indigenous land rights and their decision-making power throughout their territories.

In December 2013, Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow signed a Solidarity Accord to the Save the Fraser Declaration. That Declaration is an Indigenous law banning tar sands pipelines and tankers that was signed by more than 130 First Nations in British Columbia. At that time, Barlow said, “We recognize and respect First Nations’ decisions to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers from their territories and we offer our support and solidarity in upholding the Save the Fraser Declaration.”

2 The full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action, including rejecting the colonial doctrines of discovery and recognizing Indigenous self-determination.

In June 2015, the Council of Canadians endorsed all 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. At that time, Barlow stated, “It is imperative to recognize that cultural genocide was perpetrated against Indigenous peoples in this country. The truth and reconciliation process and its recommendations should be seen as a call to action for all Canadians to work to address the wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples and ensure that injustices are not continued in any form in the present day.”

3 The full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the ground.

In September 2007, we issued a media release that stated, “The Council of Canadians denounces the Harper government for voting against UNDRIP [at the United Nations] on September 13, 2007 along with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Canadian government show leadership on indigenous rights by supporting the Declaration and taking necessary measures to ensure justice for Aboriginal communities in Canada.”

We call on the Trudeau government to recognize a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, to fully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (and explicitly its key principle of the right to free, prior and informed consent).