In exactly 46 days, in Winnipeg, there will be a 12km walk, followed by a gathering at the National Centre for Truth And Reconciliation, in support of Reconciliation Bill C-262. The bill, if enacted, would ”require the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” (details of the walk and gathering to come)

There is much talk these days, following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, about what next steps we might take to reset and heal the relationship in Canada between our First Nations and Settler peoples. Certainly no single measure will heal 150+ years of abuses, but adopting legal minimum standards for the individual and collective well-being of our host peoples is vital to rebuilding a healthy, just and good nation.

There are 46 days to the walk/gathering, which we hope will draw thousands in support of Reconciliation Bill C-262. There are also 46 articles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, so I thought I’d start a countdown beginning today.

Poets Lyla June Johnston (Diné Bikéyah) and Joy Devito (Settler Canadian) have put together a beautiful book called “Lifting Hearts off the Ground: Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry.” They have written poem/prayers in response to each article of the Declaration in a “poetic conversation… so that the seemingly dry bones of the Declaration may be made alive in our eyes and in our relationships.” I encourage you to purchase the book and become familiar with the Declaration and these gripping poetic responses.

Every day until the walk, I will post, in reverse order, each of the 46 articles followed by the accompanying poems by Lyla and Joy. This will be my countdown to what we hope will be a strong show of support on Sept. 23rd. I’ll include details for the walk and gathering as they emerge. Please follow along.. please share… please pray… please come.

Article 46:

1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.‍
2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society.‍

3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.‍

Lyla June Johnston:

Time will tell the course
of our collective.
We are one in the end.

Some are parrots.
Some are falcons.
Some are cranes.
And some are pigeons.

But at sunset, we are all birds
needing a place to roost, a nest
to shield us from the winter wind.
See me in you. See you in me.

We will learn this hard lesson
together.
Some will starve. Some will overeat.
Some will freeze. Some will overheat.
Recycled souls evaporate
then drop against the parched
canvas of the earth, smelling
like the sweet aspiration of
a trillion lives lived.

Love sustains us. Love recreates us.
Love remains after all the blood,
And all the pain.

Love remains,
Love remains.

Joy Devito:

When superiority is silenced,
beauty is seen.
    Movement, risk,
    relationship, love.

In communion:
    movement.

In vulnerability:
    risk.

In hearing:
    relationship.

In sharing:
    love.

Let us be who
we were created to be.

(reprinted with permission)

Please encourage our Government to adopt and implement the Declaration.

Sign petition HERE...

 

Related post: My Poem for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…

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