Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples : Montréal celebrates the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
13 septembre 2017
Montréal, September 13, 2017 – The mayor of Montréal, Mr. Denis Coderre, accompanied by the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Mr. Ghislain Picard, highlighted today at the Palais des congrès, the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. From this impetus, Montréal is embarking on a new chapter towards Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
“Today is a historical day for Montréal. With the 375th anniversary of Montréal, now is the unique opportunity to express our deepest respect and our recognition towards the many peoples who have been living on this territory since ancestral times. By celebrating the 10 years of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Montréal acknowledges the pivotal role it plays on the international stage in the implementation of human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples on a daily basis. As a Metropolis of Reconciliation, we wish to send a strong message of peace, justice and respect for human rights, all of which are principles to which the city is firmly committed,” declared the mayor of Montréal, Mr. Denis Coderre.
“To contribute to awareness-raising efforts, the AFNQL will take action and offer every school in First Nations communities in Quebec a framed copy of the text of the Declaration, which deserves to be promoted amongst children and young people. I would also like to highlight that the commitments and initiatives from the City of Montreal move us forward along the path of reconciliation and harmony. On behalf of the AFNQL, I encourage all municipal governments to follow suit, in their own way. Reconciliation necessarily involves a recognition of the past and the present, and we must pave the way to the future for our generations to come as they must coexist in a respectful environment, with dignity and collaboration, in the spirit of what the City of Montreal has put in place”, said the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, Mr. Ghislain Picard.
Endorsed to date by close to 150 countries, including Canada, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples represents the most exhaustive international instrument on the fundamental rights and liberties of Indigenous peoples (culture, identity, religion, language, territory, health, education, cooperation, etc.).
On August 21, 2017, Montréal city council unanimously adopted the resolution endorsing the Declaration.
Metropolis of Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Earlier this morning the city unveiled the new city coat of arms and flag. This initiative is part of the city's Strategy of Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The objective of this strategy is to recognize the millennial history of the territory on which Montréal was built.
Montreal has already undertaken numerous actions within the framework of its Reconciliation strategy, in particular:
The naming of Park Tiohtià:ke Otsira'kéhne, toponym in the Kanienke'ha language, following a consultation of speakers in Mohawk communities. There is also a plan to increase the use of indigenous place names in Montreal;
Support for Montreal's Indigenous cultural events;
Recognition of non-surrendered indigenous ancestral territory in pronouncements by the mayor and other city elected officials;
The June 21 celebration at city hall, designated as the Montreal Indigenous Peoples' Day by organizing a ceremony of new citizens with the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador;
The creation of a position of commissioner for Indigenous Peoples.