Premier John Horgan has released the following statement to celebrate the first anniversary of B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act):
“One year ago today, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was passed unanimously by the B.C. legislature. It made this province the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize in law the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
“This was a historic day, realized by the advocacy of Indigenous leaders over many years, when the house came together across party lines to bring to pass something so important and fundamental.
“It has been quite a year since then, as we grapple with a challenge unlike anything we have seen in generations. The COVID-19 pandemic has called on all of us to step up and work together. I have seen examples of this in Indigenous communities throughout the province, and I want to acknowledge the effort, leadership and collaboration that is helping to keep people safe. The pandemic brings home how important it is that we work together – a principle at the foundation of the Declaration Act.
“Earlier this year, we released the first annual progress report on the Declaration Act, developed in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples. We are now working with Indigenous peoples and organizations, individual First Nations, Treaty Nations, urban Indigenous coalitions and Métis Nation BC to build a collaborative action plan for the priorities ahead.
“We will partner with Indigenous peoples through evolving shared decision-making processes and collaborate with First Nations to create a clear, stable and sustainable path forward for everyone to work together on land and resource decisions. And we will establish a secretariat to ensure new legislation and policies are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“There is a great deal of work ahead as we implement the Declaration Act and move reconciliation with Indigenous peoples forward. We remain committed to this work and to making progress, together with Indigenous peoples, for our children, grandchildren and all the generations to come.”