Again this year, a Wapikoni delegation composed of Widia Larivière, Jemmy Echaquan, Mathew Vachon, Diana Lock and Virginie Michel went to the United Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 24-28, 2017, in New York City.
This 16th Session helped the Wapikoni participants understand the issues discussed during the Forum and to learn about different Indigenous rights organizations around the world.
I knew there were Indigenous people everywhere, but it was really interesting to see how similar we all are and that we face the same issues and have the same demands. It's really degrading that even in 2017 we have to fight for our fundamental rights. – Mathew Vachon, musician from Ushat mak Mani-Utenam.
This Session examined the implementation of the Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples (DRIP) across the world. The delegates noted that despite the States’ endorsement of the DRIP, its implementation never went beyond good intentions. The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyne Bennet, addressed the assembly on two occasions to list the measures implemented by Canada, such as the National Enquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In his address, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde reminded the Forum that political and technical cooperation between States and Indigenous peoples was of the utmost importance to co-develop administrative and legislative national action plans in order to fully implement the Declaration. He asked the Forum to call on States to work in partnerships with Indigenous peoples in all decisions impacting their rights. Finally, he asked Canada and other governments to work with Indigenous people to develop a framework to prevent future governments from reversing the constructive legislative, administrative or constitutional advances made. He reminded the Forum that despite Canada’s repeated announcements that it would implement the Declaration, concrete measures are still pending.
The delegation couldn’t have been able to attend without the financial support of LOJIQ.