Truth and Reconciliation
By Rita Button
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba has published a booklet which identifies the Principles of Reconciliation, lists Calls to Action and adds the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They hope that “having all three documents together will enhance the knowledge and understanding that lays the groundwork for reconciliation.” (Introduction, Truth and Reconciliation, Calls to Action, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.)
At The Beacon, we are hoping that presenting one of the concepts in each issue might allow readers to consider and talk about them as a way of participating in the reconciliation process. The United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007; Canada has endorsed these principles.
The Charter affirms the right of all “peoples to be different, to consider themselves different and to be respected as such” (IBID, p. 101) after the introductory statement that “indigenous people are equal to all other peoples.” (IBID, 101) The idea of diversity is welcomed as a way of creating a rich civilization and culture, contributing to” humankind’s heritage.” (IBID, p.102) The charter goes on to state that it is “socially unjust” to “advocate superiority of peoples” on the basis of ”race, religion, national origins and ethnic or cultural differences.” (IBID, p.102)
Thus, indigenous peoples “should be free from discrimination of any kind.” (IBID, p.102)
That’s the beginning of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.