(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – June 21, 2022) Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) reflects on a range of critical issues facing First Nations as we demand systemic change. UBCIC calls for decisive forward action on implementation of the federal United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the provincial Declaration Act, tangible and concrete action on the MMIWG Calls for Justice, the jointly developed repatriation of internees of unmarked graves to their home communities, and substantial climate crisis investments to First Nations.
We acknowledge the tireless work of First Nations to assert their unceded and inherent Title and Rights, and Treaty Rights, and exercise self-determination in the face of historic and ongoing colonialism. Although there are incremental changes happening, we take this opportunity to call for real and meaningful commitments from government and society to effect systemic and structural change including acknowledging and addressing ongoing and intersecting forms of racism and discrimination at every level.
As Heove ve ‘keso (Yellowbird), Chief Phillip Whiteman Jr. proclaims, only love can stop war, and Indigenous teachings will point the way to peace. The UBCIC also calls for transparency and ethics in our own Indigenous organizations. The UBCIC Executive stands with Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald in demanding a forensic audit of the AFN, including ensuring that direction confirmed by the Chiefs is followed. As the first female National Chief of the AFN, RoseAnne Archibald faces unique challenges and the UBCIC welcomed her to the role when she was elected.
In the spirit of National Indigenous Peoples Day, the UBCIC invites those who are available to attend the release of an important film called “Doctrine of Recovery” as part of the AFN AGA on July 5th at 6:30 pm (red carpet) at the Vancouver Convention Centres. The film addresses that although it is long overdue, now is the time for Pope Francis to finally revoke the Inter Caetera papal bull of May 4, 1493, and for him to denounce the Doctrine of Discovery as a relic of an unconscionable past. The UBCIC has been clear and consistent on this. Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer, stated “The film is a powerful reminder of how the Doctrine of Discovery is at the very foundation of systemic and institutionalized racism that our people continue to be marginalized by, and how the roots of so many tragic issues impacting First Nations communities today, like the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls crisis, began with the imposition of the Inter Caetera papal bull of May 4,1493. This is the critical work of our leadership for real change for our Peoples.”