The City of St. John’s made a commitment to “support and promote the implementation” of UNDRIP as part of the Declaration in Support of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was drafted jointly by Council and First Voice in late 2020.
To help inform and spark policy change at the municipal level in particular, First Voice held its inaugural First Peoples Policy Forum in December 2022 in St. John’s. The event helped to promote greater awareness and understanding of the international declaration. Organized around the theme of mobilizing Indigenous sovereignty, the Policy Forum brought together more than a dozen speakers from across Newfoundland and Labrador and three other provinces. The event was well attended by policymakers and municipal officials.
In addition, First Voice has formed the Indigenous Justice Action Circle to advance work on aspects of this Call for Change in conjunction with 6 others.
Related national efforts include TRC Calls to Action 43 and 44 and MMIWG Call for Justice 1.2. Relevant international human rights standards include UNDRIP Article 1.
Action Area 4: Justice and Human Rights
We envision a city and a province where urban Indigenous people enjoy equal protection of the law and equal access to justice. To realize this vision, First Voice calls on all residents of St. John’s to help advance change in the following ways:
Not Yet Started
Seek a formal apology from the provincial government for the legacy of harm that resulted from the exclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Terms of Union with Canada in 1949. Such an apology must be drafted in full collaboration with all Indigenous groups in the province, including urban Indigenous people, and should become a foundation for establishing a renewed relationship between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Indigenous Peoples in the province.
Ensure the availability of Indigenous cultural programming within the corrections system.
Promote and support the implementation of an Indigenous navigator position within the criminal justice and child welfare systems.
Promote and support the availability and use of restorative justice programs.
Promote and support the implementation of Gladue reports in sentencing.
Advocate for the legal recognition of Mi’kmaw, Innu-aimun, and Inuktitut as official languages of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Advocate for the implementation of stronger civilian oversight of police services, including the creation of a Police Oversight Board that is independent of police, civilian-led, politically neutral, and representative of the province’s diverse communities.
Advocate for the adoption and full implementation of UNDRIP at all levels of government.