THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ACT

Canada does not recognize the Jay Treaty and thus does not recognize a “right of entry” for U.S.-born Indians. However, Canada has recently enacted federal legislation to incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (SC 2021, c.14, June 21, 2021).

The purposes of the UNDRIP Act are to—
           (a) affirm the Declaration as a universal international human rights instrument with application in Canadian l
aw; and
           (b) provide a framework for the Government of Canada’s implementation of the Declaration.

Article 36 is directly relevant to border crossing and trade—

  • Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to  maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.

  • States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 20 is directly relevant to trade (in addition to Article 36)—

  • Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.

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