Ahkameyimok Podcast with Perry Bellegarde
Episode 37: Chief Willie Littlechild - The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and Bill C-15
Chief Willie Littlechild knows a thing or two about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He helped write the first draft of the UN Declaration back in 1977. Chief Littlechild then spent 30 years working to get the UN to adopt the Declaration, in face of opposition from the Canadian government at the time, and is now lobbying for its passage into Canadian law as Bill C-15. When asked why he's dedicated his life to this cause, Chief Littlechild quotes the Declaration itself:
"This declaration is about 'the survival, the dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples.'"
As Bill C-15 works its way towards Royal Assent, Chief Littlechild talks about the history of the UN Declaration, his hopes for what it will achieve for First Nations peoples and Canadians, and why concerns are unfounded about Bill C-15 giving First Nations veto powers over development or taking away existing treaty rights.
In 1977 Chief Willie Littlechild was a member of the Indigenous delegation to the United Nations, where he Chaired the Working Group that produced the first Draft of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A leading national and international indigenous rights advocate, Chief Littlechild is a proud member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Treaty six territory in Alberta. He is a former Progressive Conservative member of parliament, Grand-Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, a Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a member of the Order of Canada.
***AFN National Leadership Forum on Bill C-15. Feb 10/11, 2021
Links to Declarations, Conventions and Legislation mentioned in this Episode
United Nations ILO Convention 107 (1957):
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples