The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights began with a 600 km walk from Kitchener to Ottawa in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Comprised mostly of Christians, our hope was to embody a tangible response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, specifically Call #48 which summons all churches to learn about the Declaration, facilitate public dialogue around it, and embrace its minimum standards.
The first part of the Pilgrimage is done. But the Pilgrimage is far from over. Walkers and church communities continue to raise awareness of the Declaration and mobilize on behalf of Bill C-262 (a private members bill that would ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the Declaration).
Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced that the Government of Canada is supporting Bill C-262, An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “With the direction and leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, our government will support Bill C-262. The Bill acknowledges the application of the UN Declaration in Canada, and calls for the alignment of the laws of Canada with the UN Declaration.”
This is incredibly encouraging… but until the actual vote happens and the Government stands in the House of Commons in support of 262, we need to continue lifting up prayers, sending postcards and meeting with MPs, applying persistent loving pressure! Together, we can do this.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, about 160 Indigenous and settler folk joined together to raise awareness and support for Bill C-262, a bill that seeks to ensure the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Television (CBC, CTV, and Global) and the Winnipeg Sun covered the 12 km walk from Stephen Juba Park in downtown Winnipeg to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on the campus of the University of Manitoba.
Bill C-262 will be debated in Parliament following its second reading on December 5, 2017. Bill C-262 is a private member’s bill put forward by MP Romeo Saganash. It seeks to harmonize Canadian law with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Several “Walk the Talk” events are being planned in different cities to promote awareness of Bill C-262, a private members bill by MP Romeo Saganash that seeks to harmonize Canadian law with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Stay tuned to this site and our Facebook page for possible events that may occur in other locations.
Winnipeg, Saturday, Sept. 23: Come join your voice in the call for the federal government to Walk the Talk of reconciliation! Events begin with a walk at 1 pm departing from Stephen Juba Park at the aqueduct monument (south of 333 Waterfront Dr.) and will conclude at 6:30 pm at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (177 Dysart Rd) where the main gathering with stories and music will take place at 6:30 pm.
Kitchener-Waterloo, Saturday, Sept. 23: Mini pilgrimage in support of Bill C-262 and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights Of indigenous Peoples. The walk: 10 am – 12 pm; meet @ Schneider Haus, (466 Queen St S, Kitchener). Guided walk to Waterloo Park (by the band shell) and the 14th annual Traditional Pow Wow. Join the walk, stay for the Pow Wow!
Saskatoon, Oct 6: Teach-in at St. Thomas More college, 1437 College Dr, Treaty Six Territory. Teachers:
Leah Gazan – educator, University of Winnipeg. Advocate for the adoption & implementation of UNDRIP, member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation;
Sylvia McAdam, co-founder, Idle No More Movement. Award-winning teacher, writer, and land defender. Citizen of Nêhiyaw Nation, born and raised in the Big River Reserve, Treaty Six Territory.
Fasting is a cry to Creator, and a summons to those in places of authority to do right on behalf of the oppressed. Fasting is not principally about abstaining from food and turning inwards. It’s about hungering for justice and extending out with compassion in our public relationships… seeking reparative action that will benefit all because it can restore the covenant of which we are all a part.
Join the Fast for Indigenous Human Rights & Bill C262 beginning on September 13th – the 10 year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations General Assembly.
We are 46 days away from the 10 year anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As Canadians, we have 46 articles of the Declaration to learn and write on our hearts.
We’re taking action to encourage all elected officials and ask them to support Bill C-262, “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” We’re inviting you to join in. There are pre-printed postcards available for just the cost of postage and can be ordered from CommonWord. If you’re not sure what to say, you can also download a list of suggested messages.
Or, if you want to write a letter instead of sending the postcard, you can do that too. Here’s a list of Members of Parliament to help you find MPs in your area. Postage to MPs is free. We do encourage handwritten letters, as those are more likely to carry weight than emails or other electronic forms of communication.
Host a table at your local gathering place (church, community centre, etc.) when you know there will be lot’s of folks around and hold a little Postcard Party. The more the merrier!
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a powerful proclamation of the principles that should guide Indigenous-Settler relations around the world. Some call it a blueprint for reconciliation. Some say that, if taken seriously, it could help states and Settler societies repair significant historic injustices and reject present colonialism. Yet as a legal text, it’s not the easiest document to read or to imagine into action.
In Lifting Hearts Off the Ground, two poets — one Indigenous, one Settler — come together to breathe life into the seemingly dry bones of the Declaration. And as we contemplate, wrestle with, and pray their words, we discover an invitation to renewed relationships with each other, the land, and Spirit. Thank you to Lyla June Johnston, and Pilgrimage walkers Joy De Vito and Leah ProudLakota Gazan who put together this book of inspiration.
Published by Mennonite Church Canada and available through CommonWord.
With gratitude to the walkers, host communities, and above all, the many grassroots Indigenous peoples who have actively struggled for the recognition of their basic human rights, we offer up this video documentary that shares the experiences of the 600 km Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights. The walk may be finished, but the work of raising awareness of and respect for Indigenous human rights is not over. Here’s how to help make this video continue to work toward our goal (short teaser version to come):
Share it widely on social media and in your communities; host a showing and follow-up conversation.
Encourage the elected officials in your region to watch this video and follow-up with a request to meet and discuss it.
Share it with your church family, pastor, your family, and your childrens’ schools.
If you have connections with elected officials, try and arrange a showing on Parliament Hill.
Share it with the media in your area, especially if you have media connections.
Many thanks to Brad Leitch of Rebel Sky Media for his excellent work on this production.
by Deborah Froese; April 26, 2017; Mennonite Church Canada Winnipeg, Man
The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights (PFIR) draws to a close on May 13, but even when the event is over, there are several ways to keep the objective of the initiative alive.
And what exactly is that objective? Ensuring that Indigenous peoples are guaranteed the same basic human rights enjoyed by others living in Canada – from houses and running water to education.
To this end, the Pilgrimage, a 600 km trek from Kitchener to Ottawa, Ont., is advocating for the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Declaration provides the foundation for healing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Implementing it is one of the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their final report. Continue reading “Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights: Join the effort”