HTG negotiator talks human rights during Aboriginal Neighbours event
First up is the legacy of residential schools during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Cowichan visit this week.
The two events aren't connected, but both are the result of colonization's lingering legacy.
For Aboriginal Neighbours' guest speaker Robert Morales, the bottom line is basic human rights.
"It's not just about Aboriginal rights, it's about Indigenous peoples' human rights," said the Hum'qumi'num Treaty Group's chief negotiator. "I've been doing a number of lectures in various locations, and that has been a pretty important message for people to see and understand."
A key sticking point for the HTG is the 1884 E&N land grant of 385,000 hectares of Native land without consultation, accommodation or benefit to the Hul'qumi'num people.
Morales and the HTG have taken their concerns to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which could deliver its decision as early as this month.
"We know the commission is meeting at the end of this month, but we're not sure if the decision will be ready at that point," Morales said.
Meanwhile, Morales says the HTG's message is spreading.
"I think it is beginning to reach people, and right now, I take the approach of one person at a time," he said. "That's all we can do. So we educate a few people, and hopefully they tell their friends, and it'll continue to grow."
Saturday's lecture — called Seeking Justice Elsewhere — suits the mandate of co-sponsor Aboriginal Friends, which is a collection of Vancouver Island churches working to build bridges and improve relationships with Aboriginal peoples.
The group formed about 15 years ago and hosts events of this nature about once a year in various island locations.
"Robert (Morales) is such a good speak, and this is a very good opportunity to ask questions about the treaty process," said Aboriginal Neighbours member Jenny Balme.
The presentation will answer questions such as, Why are treaties necessary?; Why as the HTG found it necessary to take its search for justice outside of Canada?; What lands are the HTG claiming?; How will intended treaties affect people who live here?
The event is free and open to all community members. It runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17 at the Duncan Christian Reformed Church on Trunk Road. To register ahead call 1-800-661-4630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.