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10 May 2021

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle: Statement on Including UNDRIP in Canadian Law

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle appreciates the government’s action in introducing a bill to include the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canadian law. We recognize this as an important step towards a framework for working together with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is a Catholic coalition of Indigenous people, bishops, lay movements, clergy and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Circle has consistently affirmed the Declaration as a framework for reconciliation in response to TRC Call to Action #48.

Although there is reservation in endorsing all aspects of Bill C-15: An Act Respecting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its current form, we believe the importance of including the UNDRIP in Canadian law cannot be underestimated and hope that, after consultation, review, and any appropriate amendments, it will be ready to be passed in a timely manner. In particular, we wish to call attention to Article 19 in the Declaration, which calls for consultation and cooperation in good faith with the Indigenous Peoples concerned, through their own representative institutions, in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent, before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

We pledge to do what we can to help our Catholic community to increase awareness of the significance of UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation and just relations in Canada.

Archbishop Murray Chatlain and Mr. Tom Dearhouse, on behalf of Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle