We call upon the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to develop and sign a Covenant of Reconciliation that would identify principles for working collaboratively to advance reconciliation in Canadian society, and that would include, but not be limited to:
- Reaffirmation of the parties’ commitment to reconciliation.
- Repudiation of concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and the reformation of laws, governance structures, and policies within their respective institutions that continue to rely on such concepts.
- Full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
- Support for the renewal or establishment of Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships into the future.
- Enabling those excluded from the Settlement Agreement to sign onto the Covenant of Reconciliation.
- Enabling additional parties to sign onto the Covenant of Reconciliation.
Why “Not Started”?
The Church Parties to the Settlement Agreement made commitments to a Covenant of Reconciliation in 2015 and 2016; the federal government did as well in their last official update on Sept, 5, 2019. There has been no actions or news since then and no timeline identified for development of a Covenant of Reconciliation for signature.
Nothing specific in federal government’s official response other than general statements in support of i. Reconciliation and ii. Repudiation of Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius (see also C2A # 47); (iii) Bill C-15 “An Act to harmonize laws with UNDRIP” receives Royal Assent on June 21, 20121 and becomes law. (See C2A # 43) and iv. Treaty relationship that are addressed through “Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples” but no indication of how or any discussion of integration with the National Action Plan. The federal response does not address v and vi at all.
The Church Parties to the Settlement Agreement have made multiple commitments to items i. – iv. No timeline identified for development of a Covenant of Reconciliation for signature.
Aug. 17, 2020 – Although not directly related to the Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation, the $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funding over six years to support the Rebuilding First Nations Governance (RFNG) project, an investigation into transforming Indian Act governance, seeks Indigenous alternatives to the stranglehold the Indian Act has over all aspects of Indigenous lives in Canada. RFNG is “an alliance of First Nation communities and tribal councils, and academic researchers and practitioners, committed to working from the community level up to end Indian Act governance and build alternatives that realize the inherent right to self-government as affirmed in the Constitution Act”. The question is “How does the 6-year timeline impact the government’s implementation plan for UNDRIP – a fundamental commitment of the Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation? See additional details in C2A # 45 and 47 Federal Government commitment.
Official Response of Church Parties
Response of the Churches to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Roman Catholic Entities Parties to the Settlement Agreement, The United Church of Canada and……
June 2, 2015