Implementing UNDRIP in BC: A Discussion Paper Series

In 2019 we saw some historic developments with respect to the recognition of the fundamental human rights of Indigenous Peoples. In order to help inform understandings and dialogue about the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre will be periodically issuing short commentaries on what some of the developments that are taking place mean, issues we may consider when reviewing them, and ideas about the work we must collectively do going forward. These commentaries have been developed in dialogue with leading experts, including those on the front lines of driving forward some of the changes we are seeing. It is hoped that by sharing these perspectives, ever more informed, effective, and co-operative efforts will advance in support of true reconciliation.

We welcome your feedback on these commentaries, as well as ideas you may have for other topics that would be helpful for us to focus on in the future.

Download the discussion papers

Emergencies, Indigenous Governance and Jurisdiction

This paper discusses how the recent pandemic due to COVID-19 has reinforced the importance in the recognition, implementation and right to self-govern. This paper works to form proper connections between Indigenous communities and Crown jurisdictions, laws and levels of government. As we prepare for possible pandemics similar to COVID-19 and attempt to strengthen governance in times of distress, this paper serves as a jumping off point in the right to self-governance and reconciliation. 

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Indigenous Rights in Times of Emergency

This paper discusses the (amplified) effects of world crises on the human rights of Indigenous peoples. It recognizes the unforeseen effects of COVID-19 on various vulnerable populations, and the ways previous emergencies have affected these populations. It addresses the questions about the process of reconciliation, and the ways in which it may be stalled, and ways that the priorities of reconciliation may need to change in order to continue moving forward.

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Operationalizing Free, Prior, and Informed Consent

This paper discusses the practical implementation of consent-based decision making, and emphasizes the difference between consultation between governments before a decision is made, and a genuine joint decision. It explains three basic models of implementing consent between Crown and Indigenous governments, and notes the increase in proper recognition and implementation of Indigenous jurisdictions. 

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Co-operatively Resolving Conflicts Through the Application of UNDRIP

This paper addresses challenges in co-operative approaches to addressing conflicts in government, and explains the way DRIPA helps advance these approaches. It also discusses the shift to a focus on the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights, and the emphasis is being placed on moving away from adversarial forums and modes of engagement to new, principled, modes of co-operation.

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“Indigenous Governing Bodies” and advancing the work of Re-Building Indigenous Nations and Governments

This paper is about the purpose and interpretation of the definition of “Indigenous Governing Bodies” in the context of DRIPA. By making observations about the inclusion of the definition in DRIPA, it helps to build understanding in this area of speculation. It also discusses the distinction between the questions of the proper Title and Rights holder and who represents the proper Title and Rights holder.

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Achieving Consistency between the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the Laws of British Columbia

This paper addresses questions about the application of the UN Declaration to the laws of British Columbia. It explains the importance of using a human rights lens with the implementation of the UN Declaration by recognizing the impact of colonialism on marginalized communities, and not only the collective matters of land and governance.

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Coming soon: Building an Action Plan to Meet the Objectives of UNDRIP and Gender, Inclusivity and UNDRIP


For more of the Centre’s publications and dialogues on UNDRIP, visit our Reports section.


About the Discussion Paper Series

In 2019 we saw some historic developments with respect to the recognition of the fundamental human rights of Indigenous peoples. In particular, after decades of denial and failed initiatives, we saw some governments beginning to take steps in partnership with Indigenous peoples to change legislation in ways that can assist with the vital work of decolonization, most notably with the passage of British Columbia’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which was co-developed through a process established with the First Nations Leadership Council of British Columbia.

In order to help inform understandings and dialogue about the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre will be periodically issuing short commentaries on what some of the developments that are taking place mean, issues we may consider when reviewing them, and ideas about the work we must collectively do going forward. These commentaries have been developed in dialogue with leading experts, including those on the front lines of driving forward some of the changes we are seeing. It is hoped that by sharing these perspectives, ever more informed, effective, and co-operative efforts will advance in support of true reconciliation.

Finally, these papers are meant to be a starting point for advancing dialogue – and in particular for encouraging a wide range of perspectives from all backgrounds and viewpoints. In addition to occasional written commentaries, the Centre anticipates hosting on-going dialogues regarding the progress of implementation of the UN Declaration.

We welcome your feedback on these commentaries, as well as ideas you may have for other topics that would be helpful for us to focus on in the future.

About the Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre

The Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. With a mandate to support access to Residential School records for Survivors, their families, and communities, the IRSHDC works to generate inclusive dialogue that is transparent and trauma informed, and build information practices, research, and education around Residential Schools and related systems. With a framework that privileges respectful, equitable, and Indigenous-informed access to records and information, the IRSHDC is developing digital systems and spaces of inquiry to model a new platform for information stewardship.