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Indigenous rights working group endorsed by city council

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A local group working on a plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, could become a regular committee of city council next year.

Established last September with a one-year mandate, the working group currently has 15 members including two city councillors and representatives from three area First Nations, school board and health care.

Its short-term goals include increasing cultural awareness, developing resource materials and drafting a territorial acknowledgement, to be used by council at meetings and community events.

Council recently approved in principle a recommendation to make the working group a standing committee of council, subject to next year’s budget.

The UN approved the non-legally binding declaration in 2007. It sets out individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide to culture, identity, language, employment, health and education while promoting full and effective participation in decision-making.

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