Tagged Indigenous peoples’ human rights

Scroll down for a list of all articles about Canadian Friends Service Committee’s work in support of Indigenous peoples’ human rights.

Our work uses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework and is always done in partnership with Indigenous peoples and human rights organizations. Our newsletter Quaker Concern comes out three times a year sharing stories from our Indigenous rights work and how we’re making a difference.

We cannot have peace without justice. Indigenous peoples do not have justice, and so we are led to walk alongside and support our Indigenous partners in their struggles for it.

Indigenous peoples globally continue to face discrimination, dispossession of their lands and resources, forced assimilation, and other grave human rights abuses. The UN Declaration is the most comprehensive international human rights instrument to specifically address their economic, social, cultural, political, civil, spiritual and environmental rights.

In its own words, the UN Declaration sets out minimum standards necessary for the “dignity, survival and well-being” of Indigenous peoples.

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the Declaration on September 13, 2007. This historic adoption followed more than 20 years of deliberation and debate!

The Declaration affirms inherent or pre-existing collective human rights, as well as the human rights of Indigenous individuals. It provides a framework for justice and reconciliation, applying existing human rights standards to the specific historical, cultural, and social circumstances of Indigenous peoples.

IWe work with many organizations to hold Canada accountable to meet its responsibilities under domestic law and international law including the UN Declaration. Together with our partners we regularly produce joint statements, open letters, and educational materials.

Quakers need to develop and nurture relationships of trust and mutual respect between ourselves, others in Canada, and the Indigenous peoples of this territory.

In a UN building CFSC's General Secretary Jennifer Preston smiles at the camera while to her right Paul Joffe (long-time legal counsel with the Cree Nation Government/Grand Council of the Crees) works on his laptop.

The UN Declaration has shaped my life for 25 years

CFSC staff have a book club. Recently we finished reading and discussing Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope, and Action. I co-edited this book with CFSC associate, and long-time legal counsel with the Cree Nation Government/Grand Council of the Crees, Paul Joffe, and then staff at the First Nations…

A screening of s-yéwyáw: Awaken became all the more powerful as the film team honoured a shishalh elder who is in the film and passed away the week before the Vancouver screening. Photo submitted by Alfonso Salinas.

Cultural revitalization in action: CFSC’s Reconciliation Fund

As you may know, CFSC’s Reconciliation Fund supports the grassroots, community-based efforts of Indigenous peoples in Canada working on cultural and language revitalization projects. Modest grants of up to $2,500 are typically awarded to individuals or groups that have not found funding elsewhere, and contribute towards the costs of cultural ceremonies, Elder or knowledge holder…

Participants at EMRIP expert seminar, University of British Columbia, February, 2023

Human rights are vital. How do we know when they’re implemented?

How can people verify that key humans rights are actually respected? For many years Canadian Friends Service Committee has focused on making sure that the vitally important rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration or UNDRIP) are implemented. How is the Declaration—which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called…

A still from the introduction to the video series Indigenous Voices on Reconciliation from CFSC (Quakers)

Watch accomplished experts offer hope on the path to reconciliation

This past November, I was excited to reconnect with Chief Robert Joseph—a hereditary chief of the Gwawenuk people—at an event for the release of his book, Namwayut. He has been Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We first met in 2013 at…

Expert Symposium on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Development, April, 2022. Photo: Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel.

Expanded Visions of Sustainability at the Expert Symposium

In the first few weeks at my new job at CFSC I got a text from Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator Jennifer Preston: “So! What do you think about coming to Vancouver?” With excitement I told her, “Of course, I’d love to.” A few weeks later I set off from my home office in Ontario to…

Breathing Life Into Treaty Relationships

We arrived at 7 am. The autumn sun warmed the Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest in North End, Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory. We came to set up. Something was planned that had not happened for 150 years. We gathered to commemorate the 1871 making and signing of Treaties 1 and 2. As the sacred fire burned,…

Strong Spirits film by Katsi'tsakwas Ellen Gabriel

Strong Spirits Soar in New York

In 2021 CFSC’s Reconciliation Fund provided grant funds to long-time CFSC partner Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel for her studies in documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). Ellen is an artist and land defender from the Kanien’kehá:ka community of Kanehsatà:ke.  We are thrilled to support this critical decolonizing work. In her application to CFSC,…

Senator Christmas votes in favour of the UN Declaration Implementation Act, June 16, 2021.

A Milestone for Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation

F or many years CFSC has called on Canada to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are absolutely thrilled that an important piece of legislation toward this end, Bill C-15, received Royal Assent on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is such a tremendous victory! We joined with…

In advancing the TRC's Calls to Action CFSC has provided individual grants like one to Cowichan Elder Hul'q'umin'num, teacher, and knowledge keeper Philomena Williams, to bring in a fish leather expert for teaching this ancient skill

Giving Life and Spirit to TRC Calls to Action

In June, it will be six years since the formal closing events commemorating the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the release of the 94 Calls to Action. Many thousands of people at the closing event heard the words of TRC Chief Commissioner Murray Sinclair: “If you thought the truth was hard, reconciliation…