As people of faith, Mennonite Central Committee is committed to addressing the legacy of harm done to Indigenous Peoples by churches and governments, and to forging right relationships. MCC’s advocacy efforts arise out of our program work – more specifically, from the call of partners that we work with in Canada and around the world.
On December 3, the federal government introduced Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since that point, MCC staff have engaged in a consultation and learning process with partner and friend organizations around the content of C-15. MCC recognizes the complexity of advocacy around Bill C-15 and respects the multiplicity of voices speaking into this proposed legislation. We take seriously our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, as well as our relationships across Canada.
Based on these conversations with partners, we have chosen not to adopt a position on Bill C-15 at this time. We remain committed to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation and will continue to monitor the legislation and share news.
MCC encourages the government of Canada to continue to listen and consult with multiple Indigenous perspectives as the legislative process moves forward. We also encourage Canadians to continue to think deeply around the complexities and possibilities of engaging in reconciliation work in Canada and ask the government to do the same. We have provided a list of resources to help in this process.
We invite Canadians who want to take action to use our letter writing tool to engage with the Minister of Justice and their MPs, sharing support for the UN Declaration as the framework for reconciliation in Canada. We encourage editing of the text of the letter as you listen and engage in your own local communities. Learn about the issues, and bring your own voice to the government as you use this tool.
We pray that Indigenous voices will guide and direct us forward.
Background Information on the UN Declaration:
After close to 30 years of negotiations, in 2007 the United Nations adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). It is an International Human Rights instrument drafted with Indigenous Peoples globally advocating for the recognition of their basic human rights.
In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to action #48 and #49, calling on governments and churches to adopt and implement the UN Declaration, in January 2017 MCC Canada issued a statement of lament, apology, and commitment to using the UN Declaration as a guide for right relations and reconciliation. This commitment by MCC articulated, among other things, that “we affirm the principles of self-determination, equality and respect embedded in UNDRIP and commit ourselves anew to the ministry of reconciliation entrusted to us by Jesus Christ, the great reconciler.”
Resources for understanding the complexities of C-15:
An introductory list of resources compiled by Mennonite Church Canada to help communities understand what Bill C-15 is, the diverse conversations that surround it, the history of how we got here, why many Indigenous organizations, unions, faith communities, and more are supporting C-15, and why some do not.
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug opposes federal government's proposal to implement UNDRIP
Federal UNDRIP Bill C-15 is an attack on Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination: Opinion