The following is a motion that I am sending for our January 7th meeting of the London Homeless Coalition.
The two greatest human rights concerns of our nation and our generation, in my mind, are homelessness and the plight of the First Nations of this land. It should come as no surprise that the two are intricately connected, and therefore of concern to the London Homeless Coalition. Both involve histories of marginalization, poverty, disenfranchisement, prejudice, and poverty.
In regards to the First Nations the question is, how should we respond? I would suggest that we respond primarily by rejecting the common assertion “We have done enough.” Our current federal government is pushing the narrative that whether it’s through apologies or through restitution payments, the ‘Canadian’ response to the plight of First Nations has been sufficient. Therefore, any further concerns reflect a short-coming of First Nations people, no fault of ‘ours’. I believe we need to adamantly reject this perception. Whether it’s the problematic way we have structured funding to First Nations (http://natpo.st/t5sOil) or the way in which legislation is being passed (http://www.idlenomore.ca/ under Bills & Other Resources) the current treaty relationship is not working well. In particular, whether we look at rates of suicide, age of death, poverty, homelessness, housing conditions, etc., we as Canadians should be gravely concerned. Most importantly, through the Idle No More movement, we need to hear the voices of Aboriginal peoples who are telling us it isn’t working.
As the London Homeless Coalition continues to work with Darlene in enhancing our relationships with the Aboriginal people of our community, I believe there are important steps we can take as along the way, as recommended at our last meeting. To this end, I would like to make the following motion:
I so move that the London Homeless Coalition accepts and endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf).