Indigenous Peoples & Rights

Governance (cont.)


Governance: Table of Contents

Indigenous Peoples & Indigenous Rights

Having consulted Robert's Rules of Order 1, the constitution and bylaws of the Green Party of Canada2 (GPC), and the initial state of LEAP Thunder Bay3, we now consider LEAP as a progressive organization claiming to centre Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights in its vision, structure and processes for the city of Thunder Bay. So we now consider how the centring of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights might be realized.

Current LEAP Context

In order to set the stage for our discussion of centring Indigenous People and Indigenous Rights, we are going to review the current (November 2017) state of documentation on LEAP National and LEAP Thunder Bay regarding Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Rights.

Leap National

The key document at this point, at the national level, is the LEAP Manifesto 4. The national manifesto begins by acknowledged the violence of Canada's colonial past:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has acknowledged shocking details about the violence of Canada’s near past. Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And our record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future.

This opening acknowledgement implicitly links colonialism, as violence against Indigenous Peoples, with poverty, inequality and violence against the earth. The national manifesto continues:

These facts are all the more jarring because they depart so dramatically from our stated values: respect for Indigenous rights, internationalism, human rights, diversity, and environmental stewardship.

This discrepancy between "stated values" and actual conduct takes us to the heart of colonial ideology as a deceptive cover for violence against Indigenous Peoples, marginalized colonial citizens and the earth.

The national manifesto goes on to connect the current state of global social inequality with global environmental crises in which time is short to head off systemic, self-destruction. Thus the need for a "leap".

LEAP national then makes a direct connection between colonialism and the environmental crises, and thus, offers as its first remedy the full implementation of UNDRIP:

This leap must begin by respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land. Indigenous communities have been at the forefront of protecting rivers, coasts, forests and lands from out-of-control industrial activity. We can bolster this role, and reset our relationship, by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Moved by the treaties that form the legal basis of this country and bind us to share the land “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow,” we want energy sources that will last for time immemorial and never run out or poison the land. Technological breakthroughs have brought this dream within reach. The latest research shows it is feasible for Canada to get 100% of its electricity from renewable resources within two decades; by 2050 we could have a 100% clean economy.

By fully implementing UNDRIP, LEAP national sees the possibility of laying the ground for solving the social, political and environmental crises. LEAP national calls for an "energy democracy" that begins with Indigenous Peoples:

And Indigenous Peoples should be first to receive public support for

their own clean energy projects.

So the key value and initial action being called for from LEAP national regarding Indigenous Peoples is the full implementation of UNDRIP.

LEAP Thunder Bay

We are going to use the LEAP Thunder Bay "Welcome Package" as the current (November, 2017) state of the organization documentation regarding Indigenous Peoples. First it should be noted the Welcome Package includes a version of the National manifesto, which, again, contains as its very first priority:

The leap must begin by respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land, starting by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

LEAP Thunder Bay acknowledges the initial connection to the LEAP national:

The Local Leap vision (based on the national leap manifesto)...

and, goes on, to note:

...the 15 demands from the National Leap Manifesto at the

end of this document that our local vision has been based on to date.

Further on, LEAP Thunder Bay offers a "Statement of Place":

Leap Thunder Bay operates within Anishinaabe Aki under the Robinson

Superior Treaty of 1850. As Canada is structured by genocide, colonization

and white supremacy towards Indigenous peoples, the centre of our work

must be to build lasting, meaningful relationships with Indigenous

communities and people that account for our status on the land and the

historical context of that status.

Finally in laying out the "Evolution of LEAP Thunder Bay" the welcome package notes in stage 3 "Building a Network" that:

Beginning consultation and relationship building with the people of Fort William First Nation and other Indigenous peoples in this territory is absolutely essential to this process.

Finally, in the LEAP Thunder Bay "Draft Vision" document:

We are committed to building and honouring relationships with Indigenous communities that centre and uphold their inherent treaty rights and title to their land.

On the basis of the above review of references to Indigenous Peoples by LEAP National and LEAP Thunder Bay, we will lay out some possible proposals.

Proposals

As we noted in our earlier discussion of decisions, bylaws and constitutional articles, we assume, at this point, that bylaws and constitutional articles of LEAP Thunder Bay simply do not exist. Rather we assume that all current LEAP TBay documents represent tentative decisions awaiting a more formal process for ratifying bylaws and constitutional articles.

Nevertheless, here are some tentative proposals:

  • explicitly adopt the goal of fully implementing UNDRIP as a fundamental value, as a condition of membership, and as a candidate for becoming a bylaw and then a constitutional article
  • establish an Indigenous Caucus to
    • guide and monitor the process of implementing UNDRIP
    • guide and monitor the process of engaging the Indigenous community
  • develop specific short and long term objectives for achieving UNDRIP
  • develop a platform for municipal governance:
    • for transforming municipal structures to meet UNDRIP
    • to implement inherent treaty rights as the basis of governance
    • an Indigenous Advisory committee to advise city council
      • in addition to Elder's council and Aboriginal Liaison Unit
    • an office to monitor and evaluate the implementation of UNDRIP

Governance: Table of Contents

  1. Robert's Rules of Order http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/roberts_rules/toc.html. ↩︎
  2. Green Party of Canada https://www.greenparty.ca/en/party/documents. ↩︎
  3. LEAP Thunder Bay http://leapthunderbay.org. ↩︎
  4. LEAP Manifesto https://leapmanifesto.org/en/resources/ ↩︎