Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation (45-47)

Two Row Wampum Belt - Gä•sweñta’ (Image above courtesy of Onondaga Nation, N.Y.) Two nations travelling side-by-side respecting each other's laws, traditions and culture

Current Reality

No progress from the Federal government yet on executing a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation 7+ years after the TRC Calls to Action were issued in June 2015.

Two of the central tenets of the Royal Proclamation are the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius and the adoption of the UN Declaration as the framework for Reconciliation. Out of those flow the practical remedies of “renewing or establishing” treaty relationships and “the recognition of Indigenous laws and legal traditions” to fix 157 years of broken promises and treaties.

One of the major challenges will be in reconciling a federal agenda with provincial jurisdictions. Since a previous Indigenous Watchdog update on April 21, 2020, four provinces – BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec – have joined the federal government (Trans Mountain Pipeline, Coastal GasLink) and Newfoundland and Labrador (Muskrat Falls) in overriding and shutting down Indigenous protests – including the use of injunctions enforced by various police forces – to advance major resource extraction projects that negatively impact Indigenous communities and lives.

How does that behaviour advance Reconciliation? Perhaps that’s why these Calls to Action are either “Not Started” or “Stalled”

See “Current Problems” in “Treaties and Land Claims” for details on federal/provincial and/or territory government actions that are fundamenatly at odds with reconciliation. The problems identified are relevant to UNDRIP, the Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation and are more effectively reflected in a separate section “Treaties and Land Claims”

July 27, 2022: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops asks Vatican to issue statement on the Doctrine of Discovery that they (CCAB) repudiated on March 19, 2016 when they issued “The “Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius: A Catholic Response“. The problem is that the CCAB is not the Vatican and their renunciation has no weight to influence the government’s continued reliance on both concepts to justify Canadian legal jurisdiction over Indigenous lands.  Even the Supreme Court has declared that Aboriginal title existed before Canada existed. A renunciation of both concepts from the Vatican would bring considerably more weight to bear on governments all over the world who have displaced Indigenous people from their lands.

0/3 CTAs have been completed to date


Government of Canada to develop with Indigenous peoples a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation

Not Started


Parties to Settlement Agreement to develop and sign a Covenant of Reconciliation to advance reconciliation

Not Started


All levels of government to repudiate Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius

Not Started

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Background Information

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What is the Doctrine of Discovery?

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