Comox Valley Regional District Statement of Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
The work of Reconciliation falls to all segments of Canadian society. The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is committed to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Supporting Indigenous relations is a CVRD Board strategic driver. It is understood that a commitment alone is not enough and that action is needed to show that the CVRD is taking measurable steps towards a better relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
This Statement of Reconciliation can guide decision making for the organization for many years to come. It is understood that Reconciliation is a long term goal with no defined end point. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is the reference framework for the CVRD’s commitment to Reconciliation, which builds from the CVRD’s Indigenous Relations Framework and aims to address activities within the scope of the CVRD’s authority. This statement is a work in progress, which acknowledges that mistakes will be made and provides for adjustments to accommodate emergent practices.
The CVRD’s boundaries span the Traditional Territories of many First Nations, whose ancestors have been taking care of the land since time immemorial. The CVRD believes that a positive working relationship with First Nations is good for the whole region. For the CVRD to have a positive relationship with First Nations, we need to acknowledge, respect and work with their Indigenous laws, customs and systems of governance. The CVRD is part of a national movement towards Reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, informed by:
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
- The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Sec. 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act.
- The Douglas Treaties and the BC Modern Treaty process
- The BC Government’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
- The Federal Government’s Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (not yet adopted)
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007,
The CVRD’s path to Reconciliation focuses on four recurring themes:
- Self-Determination - The CVRD acknowledges the fundamental right of self-determination to Indigenous Peoples. In the spirit and intent of inclusivity, the CVRD is committed to working with First Nations through the governance systems they choose. When First Nations wish to participate in our decision-making process, then we will support them. The CVRD will look to First Nations for leadership in understanding how to create new decision-making systems together on their Traditional Territories.
- Shared Prosperity - The CVRD recognizes the gap in wealth between First Nations and non-Indigenous peoples The CVRD will respect its interest in fiscal responsibility and believes that improving the lives of the most vulnerable citizens creates a stronger and more resilient region for everyone. The CVRD will seek partnerships, share information and deliver fair and equitable services in working with First Nations on achieving their economic goals.
- Protecting Cultural Heritage - The CVRD recognizes that since the arrival of settlers, indigenous cultural heritage sites have been damaged and destroyed through development, and ancestral burial places and artifacts have been looted and sold. The CVRD will work with First Nations to respect, learn from and appropriately manage indigenous cultural heritage in the Comox Valley.
- Relationship with the Land and Water - The CVRD recognizes the integral relationship First Nations have with the land and water. The CVRD will work with First Nations on taking care of the land and water while providing space for cultural and ceremonial use, food and medicine harvesting, traditional management practices and reclaiming Indigenous place names.