On September 22, Dr. Tim Raybould, Professor of Practice at the McGill Insitute for the Study of Canada, will deliver a lecture at the McGill Faculty Club titled "Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Opportunities and Challenges.
The event is free and open to the public.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007. In 2016, Canada adopted the Declaration without qualification. While not legally binding, the Declaration establishes minimum standards and sets out that states, in cooperation with Indigenous peoples, shall take appropriate measures to achieve the ends of the Declaration. This can include changes to policy, legislation, and negotiated agreements as well as through the direct action of Indigenous peoples themselves. In Canada the Declaration provides a lens through which to implement Aboriginal and treaty rights already recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act. Moving forward, the opportunity today is to translate hard fought for rights into meaningful and practical benefits on the ground that actually improves the lives of Indigenous peoples and is transformative. However, the systemic and administrative barriers arising out of the colonial legacy including, for example, the ongoing application of the Indian Act, challenges the work of implementation. The author considers the exercise and implementation of rights and the experiences of Indigenous peoples in nation rebuilding within Canada as part of an ongoing process of reconciliation.