Greens promise to end colonial oppression and phase out the Indian Act

COWICHAN BAY, B.C . — Canada has a profound legal obligation to reconcile and provide restitution for the colonial relations — marked by violent expropriation, displacement and forced assimilation — that have undermined the cultural, governance and economic foundations of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. The Green Party of Canada recognizes the ongoing leadership and resilience of Indigenous Peoples in the face of systemic oppression and intergenerational trauma.

“It’s time to set this right,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “And that is why the Green Party fully embraces all 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We believe that Canada cannot reach its full potential as a nation until the socio-economic gap between Indigenous Peoples and the rest of Canada is closed.”

Ms. May noted that Greens reject the Indian Act and are committed to dismantling this racist and oppressive legislation in full partnership and with First Nations taking the lead role in the process. The Indian Act uses race-based criteria to define who is and who is not an Indian and infringes on the right of First Nations people to define themselves. Greens will support Indigenous Peoples’ work and efforts towards self-determination to ensure no one is left behind or excluded from their rightful heritage. While dismantling the Indian Act will be a complex exercise in which Indigenous Peoples have the deciding role, we will establish processes for self-governing Indigenous Peoples and nations to choose to “opt out” of the Indian Act.

“It’s time to end the era of colonial oppression and genuinely support Indigenous Peoples’ work and efforts towards self-determination so no one is left behind or excluded from their rightful heritage. It’s going to be a complex process to dismantle the Indian Act but it’s the right thing to do.”

Green Party Indigenous Affairs critic Lorraine Rekmans said that Canada, through past and current actions, has eroded the trust of Indigenous Peoples.

“The relationship has been broken,” observed Ms. Rekmans. “The first step towards rebuilding it is to humbly ask Indigenous Peoples to trust again. Given the harms that have been caused by colonial and oppressive policies, we understand this will take time, respect and patience. Our priority is to rebuild trust so we can work together in true partnership with Indigenous people to implement UNDRIP.”

A Green government will re-introduce legislation to enshrine UNDRIP in Canadian law and implement the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW).

"I chose to run for the Green Party of Canada because of the party's firm commitment to reconciliation,”  said Lydia Hwitsum, Green Party candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. “I have advocated for Indigenous and human rights locally, nationally and internationally. One of my priorities is to work towards the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.”

Ms. May noted that the party will focus on implementing the recommendations from the MMIW Inquiry and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“What happened to these women and girls is horrific and Greens will advocate hard to ensure such incidents don’t happen again,” she said.

The Green Party platform fully endorses the comprehensive 2019 election agenda prepared by the Assembly of First Nations, covering a range of policy areas that address the inequities and mistreatment experienced by First Nations across Canada. These include measures relating to reconciliation, health, education, housing, climate change, environmental protection, justice, rights, economic development, infrastructure and skills training.

The climate crisis is the lens through which every policy envelope in the platform is viewed. The policy framework is also designed to meet the linked challenges of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, climate stability, economic and social justice, and real democracy.

“It’s very important that First Nations, Métis and Inuit be fully engaged in Canada’s decision-making around the climate emergency,” said Ms. May. “We will invest in critical infrastructure to ensure safe water access in every community and prioritize high quality, safe and affordable housing, particularly in the north. We believe that Canada cannot reach its full potential as a nation until true justice and reconciliation has been achieved."

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For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Rosie Emery
Press Secretary
613-562-4916 x 206