The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw has submitted a report to the Government of British Columbia in response to its request for feedback on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) Draft Action Plan.
DRIPA is an important piece of provincial legislation that was passed in November 2019 to formally adopt the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). More information about this legislation is available on the Government of BC website.
Under DRIPA, the province is required to develop and implement an action plan in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples. Following a year of discussions, a Draft Action Plan was created and Indigenous organizations, governments, and other representatives were invited to provide feedback.
The submission from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw noted that it was encouraged by the province’s commitment to implement UNDRIP as it is a meaningful step forward in the relationship between the government and First Nations in BC.
The goal of the Nation has always been to enhance the Úxwumixw cultural values and traditions through respect, equality and harmony for all. Key to achieving this is full governmental status and authority on our lands and waters and building the capacity to provide opportunities, services, and education that empower our Members.
DRIPA represents the first opportunity for the Nation to achieve this goal without having to either extinguish rights in order to gain title (as was the case through the treaty process) or having to go through the courts to have our inherent title and rights recognized.
The Nation’s submission noted, however, that the Draft Action Plan can and should do more to center co-development and move away from simply engaging or consulting. It provided feedback around four key principles so that the aspirational goals of DRIPA can be better translated into real change for Indigenous communities across British Columbia. The Nation looks forward to continued meaningful efforts to keep on a positive path forward, one that is grounded in the principles of UNDRIP including self-determination and self-government.
Click here to view the report.