THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy together with NAN Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit will participate next week in the 2010 9th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York City, New York.
‘The UNPFII is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights’. Annually, the UNPFII holds two-week sessions. This year, the UNPFII session will begin April 19, 2010.
“We need to maintain proper perspective on the signing of our Treaties with the British Crown under the international law,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “We have never given up the right to govern ourselves nor the title to our lands.”
The theme of this year’s event is “development with culture and identity; articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).? The UNDRIP was passed in September 2007 by a vote of 144-4 states. New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America and Canada were the only four states to vote against the UNDRIP.
NAN has been active in urging the Government of Canada to adopt the UNDRIP. Most recently, NAN launched a letter-writing and postcard campaign among its communities. On March 31, 2010, NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly voted unanimously to support a resolution calling on the Government of Canada to endorse the UNDRIP.
“Besides developing relationships with other indigenous peoples, our focus will be to encourage Canada to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that?s the main reason we are attending this Forum,” said Beardy.
During his time at the UNPFII, Beardy also plans to meet with the UN Special Rapporteur Professor James Anaya to discuss human rights issues within NAN territory.