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.

Haida youth Haana Edenshaw on her experience at the UN

Haida Youth Haana Edenshaw on Her Experience at the UN

Haana Edenshaw is a youth from Haida Gwaii who accompanied Canadian Friends Service Committee’s delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. Keira Mann, who was also part of the delegation, interviewed her about the experience. Keira: How did you become involved in Canadian Friends Service Committee’s delegation to the…

Church Delegation Visits Senate to Support Bill C-262

Churches and faith bodies play an important role in the reconciliation process. It is with this in mind that I took a delegation of national church leaders to Ottawa to meet with senators to discuss Bill C-262: An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the UN Declaration on the…

Why I Support CFSC’s Reconciliation Fund

Editor’s note: Over a year ago CFSC reached out to several of our long-term Indigenous partners, asking them for guidance and support as we considered the rightness of operating a Reconciliation Fund.   We set up a working group with some of these Indigenous partners, who agreed to review applications to the Fund. Based on…

Reflections on the Inner Journey of Reconciliation

A few years ago, I attended a talk by Mohawk Elder Rarihokwats in Ottawa and received a mighty teaching when he asked us (the non-Indigenous folks attending), “Why are you still settlers?” His question challenged my settler/ally identity, which felt destabilizing and made me angry. Reflecting on this question and my anger in the years…

Rachel Singleton-Polster and Jennifer Preston at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York 2018

A Week at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Every year CFSC participates in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), as the lead for Friends globally. The theme this year was the critical topic of Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources. People often ask, “What do you do at the UN?” In answer, we offer a few daily…

Engaging with Indigenous Peoples in BC’s Northwest

During the first week of February I traveled with CFSC associate member Paul Joffe to northwest British Columbia to make presentations on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Such presentations, and dialogue on Indigenous concerns, are critical for human rights education.   Last year Paul and I had presented in Prince Rupert…

Indigenous rights legislation was a key topic of a 2017 symposium in Quebec

Advancing Legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

CFSC proudly worked with partners in the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples to host a symposium, Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Priorities, Partnerships and Next Steps, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Declaration. Our Symposium took place at the University of…

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2017

What’s in a Typical Day at the UN?

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is of critical importance in the struggle to transform relationships based on colonialism and oppression to ones based on human rights and mutual respect. We know how significant the UN Declaration is to Indigenous Peoples, and we work for its full implementation through being active allies…


Common Ground of Indigenous Struggles in Colombia and Canada

There are striking parallels between Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Colombia. This is a hemisphere where efforts have been made since contact to eliminate Indigenous Peoples through policies of physical and cultural genocide. While there are clear differences, the shared experiences are of structural discrimination and destructive policies leading to marginalization, displacement, and barriers to…