Resolutions – 1995 – First Nations Justice

First Nations Justice

In recognition of historic and continuing injustices suffered by First Nations* peoples in Canada and the current importance of redress, healing, and commitment to working out a new relationship between First Nations peoples and Canada, and
In recognition of Canadian constitutional principles entrenching aboriginal and treaty rights, and the Common Law position that Treaties be negotiated with First Nations as a means of reaching just and equitable settlements of rights to land and self government, and
In recognition of the need for effective implementation of existing as well as future Treaties, therefore
The Canadian Unitarian Council commits itself to solidarity with First Nations peoples in their struggles to achieve justice and, in particular, supports:

1. a just and fair settlement of land rights and the rights of self government;
2. interpretation of existing Treaties in contemporary terms and full implementation of all Treaties in a timely and equitable manner;
3. an effective, fair, and timely mechanism for resolving treaty disputes;
4. an end to policies of assimilation and attempted extinguishments of aboriginal rights; and
5. The Canadian Unitarian Council encourages its members, individually and collectively, in their respective areas to
6. establish contact with First Nations communities with a view to learning more about the richness of their spirituality, traditional teachings, languages, cultures, and the problems they face, and
7. work with other groups and First Nations communities to advance the struggle for justice including respect for First Nations religious and spiritual teachings, languages, cultures, and a just and fair settlement of land claims and self government; and

Moreover, the Canadian Unitarian Council

1. supports indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world, in their struggle for justice, and notes the positive standards set, in this respect, by the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 1993, and
2. urges Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists to provide programs and curricula about issues facing indigenous, including First Nations, peoples;
3. directs the Board of Trustees to create an ongoing national working group mandated to keep this issue before Canadian Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist societies; and to serve as a clearing house for educational resources concerning these issues; in consultation with the Board, prepare briefs, letters or press releases or other material for public release when circumstances warrant; and investigate and recommend joining appropriate coalitions.

Adopted May 21, 1995

*First Nations peoples include the Indian, Metis and Inuit peoples.