First Nations Leadership Council acknowledges City of Vancouver unanimous decision to implement the UN Declaration

  • Press Release

March 16, 2021

News Category
Press Release

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) acknowledges the City of Vancouver’s unanimous decision to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UN Declaration”) at the local government level last week on March 11, 2021.

The FNLC recognizes the historical significance of a major municipality committing to embark on the critical work of implementing the UN Declaration. The FNLC also acknowledges the leadership involved in bringing Motion B.2 forward, particularly from the xʷməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle.

It must be recognized that ongoing colonization continues to create harm for Indigenous Peoples within the City of Vancouver, and in broader society. This is sadly apparent in the recent violent arrest of Indigenous Youth showing solidarity with water protectors opposed to Line 3 by the Vancouver Police Department. At the heart of this issue is the Free, Prior and Informed consent of Indigenous Peoples regarding resource projects affecting their Lands and stewardship obligations.

We urge the City of Vancouver, in this and other issues affecting Indigenous Peoples in the City, to act in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“We are encouraged that the City of Vancouver is taking steps from merely adoption of the UN Declaration to implementation,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “We hope that the recommendations produced by the committee proposed in this motion will be heeded by City leadership, and we call on all other municipalities in B.C. to pass a similar motion.”

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), First Nations Summit (FNS), and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

BCAFN, Regional Chief Terry Teegee quote

In the era of reconciliation, it only makes sense for municipal governments to adopt the UN Declaration both in policy and in their conduct,” said Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “I am very pleased to see the City of Vancouver build on its long-term commitments to advance Indigenous rights by adopting this motion. This is a distinct opportunity for Vancouver to lead the way, provincially and nationally, as a progressive city.

FNS, Robert Phillips quote

The City of Vancouver has worked diligently to build positive and constructive relationships with the xʷməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as well as the urban Indigenous population. We commend Mayor Stewart and Vancouver Council for taking the next step towards reconciliation by implementing UNDRIP at the municipal level. In doing so, they have become a model for other municipal governments in BC and across Canada.

UBCIC, Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer quote

We are encouraged that the City of Vancouver is taking steps from merely adoption of the UN Declaration to implementation. We hope that the recommendations produced by the committee proposed in this motion will be heeded by City leadership, and we call on all other municipalities in B.C. to pass a similar motion.