At its first meeting of 2021, the Comox Valley Regional District board adopted a statement of reconciliation that will continue to guide the CVRD’s work with Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
The statement formally recognizes the CVRD’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, as outlined in The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and several other key documents including The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and Sec. 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act. However, the CVRD also clearly acknowledges that it will be the actions undertaken to support this statement which will truly define its relationship with Indigenous peoples moving forward.
“hɛhɛwčɩs~ Moving Forward (in our Ayajuthem language). Since my initial election to office in 2017, it has been my goal and indeed that of K’ómoks First Nation to build strong relationships with our local municipalities, and work together on the notion of moving forward together,” said K’ómoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel.
“Through many years of hard work and commitment by CVRD leadership and staff, along with KFN leadership and staff, we have developed lasting relationships to better understand each other and our common goals, as well as where we differ, and how we can achieve reconciliation. This is no easy task, as reconciliation is different for everyone, and has a million different meanings. Reconciliation cannot be achieved through one simple act, but it does begin with one simple act,” she noted.
”Reconciliation takes commitment on both sides, and action on both sides. We at K’ómoks are proud of the relationship built with the CVRD and their daily commitment to working with KFN to take actions that reflect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By taking this one important step, the CVRD joins the City of Courtenay in leading the way within municipalities nation-wide on adopting the UNDRIP, and committing to working with the territorial rights and title holders on acknowledging Indigenous rights within our unceded territory. We look forward to continuing to work with and support the CVRD in their efforts toward reconciliation.”
“Reconciliation is not just a statement or a gesture. It is a commitment to take responsibility for the past and move forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to support the reclamation of their identity, culture and livelihood,” said CVRD vice-chair Arzeena Hamir. “While the words we have adopted are important, as a board we understand that history will judge us by our actions. We are at the beginning of a very long journey to heal the past. We must be humble and committed leaders that will help to pave the way towards a better future for our community.”
In September 2019, the CVRD named Indigenous Relations as one of four strategic drivers, through which CVRD services are being delivered. To support Indigenous Relations as a driver, the CVRD adopted a framework in January 2020 that will guide core service delivery with an Indigenous Relations lens and promote greater cultural awareness. Read more about actions that are planned or have been undertaken at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/indigenousrelations.
The CVRD will also lobby the federal government to follow through with its commitment to adopt Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP), which affirms the declaration’s application in Canadian law. The BC government passed legislation in November 2019 to implement UNDRIP and set out a process that will align BC’s laws with the declaration.
Read the CVRD’s Statement of Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/indigenousrelations.