The Office of the Wet’suwet’en, Kispiox Seniors Association, Gitwilgyoots Tribe, and The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs will host Paul Joffe, a lawyer for the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Jennifer Preston, Indigenous Rights coordinator for Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers) on a northwest B.C. tour describing the affects of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The two are described by their hosts as authoritative voices on the UNDRIP, and added that Joffe and Preston were actively involved in the development of the Declaration and its adoption by the UN in 2007.
Meetings are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5 at the Dze L K’ant Friendship on Third Avenue in Smithers, and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Hagwilget Hall. Both events are free to the public and presentations start at 6 p.m.
The group will also be touring Terrace on Feb. 7 and Prince Rupert on Feb. 8.
A press release from UNDRIP Northwest said last year Preston and Joffe presented in Prince Rupert to a group of Northwest Indigenous Leaders who wanted to know more about the UNDRIP and the legal framework regarding Free, Prior and Informed Consent. A key objective was to gain a better understanding of how to use the Declaration to safeguard their rights, including those relating to lands and territories.
The release went on to say, “Although provincial and federal leaders have promised to rebuild Nation-to-Nation relationships with Indigenous communities, very few feel they’ve fulfilled their promise.
“With a dramatic increase of resource extraction proposals throughout the Northwest in recent years, many are deeply concerned that their Indigenous Rights are being undermined by decisions made far from their traditional lands by non-Indigenous governments.”
Last summer, Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) and other Indigenous leaders from the Gitxsan and Haida Nations traveled to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva, Switzerland.
STORY: Bulkley Valley representation at UN meeting
“What many are hoping to get from these presentations is a better understanding of how the Declaration protects Indigenous Rights and what that means for our communities moving forward in modern Canadian society,” said Chief Na’Moks in the release.
VIDEO from undripnorthwest.ca: