Premier John Horgan has released the following statement in honour of the 11th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP):
“Eleven years ago, UNDRIP was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to protect and uphold the inherent rights and human rights of Indigenous peoples around the globe.
“One of our first commitments as government was to work to implement UNDRIP, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision. The road is long, but we have made reconciliation a cross-government priority and are taking important steps forward, in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
“Government after government has made empty promises to First Nations and all Indigenous peoples, and made unilateral decisions about their communities and land. Systemic and institutional racism has left a legacy of trauma and inequality that affects the lives of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia to this day.
“Our government is working toward a new beginning, to help heal the traumas of the past and move forward, toward true and lasting reconciliation. It is the only way to build healthy communities, to create jobs and economic stability, where everyone benefits.
“We’ve taken action to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages in B.C. by allocating a $50-million grant to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.
“As part of the educational Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we are implementing the new First Nations history curriculum and developing course offerings in Indigenous languages.
“To help transform how the B.C. government works with First Nations and all Indigenous peoples, our government has introduced 10 draft principles as a resource to help guide all public-service employees’ relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on respect and recognition of inherent rights.
“B.C. is the first province in Canada to fund on-reserve housing. In partnership with First Nations communities, we are building and operating 1,750 new units of social housing, both on and off reserve, in Indigenous communities.
“We will to continue to do the hard work, together with Indigenous peoples, to build a true government-to-government relationship based on reconciliation, respect and the shared goal of a better future for everyone in B.C.”