Communities across Canada are holding banner-making events and other special activities to mark Roll With the Declaration, a national campaign to raise awareness of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Organized by the ecumenical justice organization Kairos, the campaign launches June 14 and will culminate in a national day of action in Ottawa on June 20. Kairos staff and volunteers are collecting banners at train stops en route to Ottawa. These will be gathered into a giant banner that will be carried through the streets of the nation’s capital on June 20, the eve of National Aboriginal Day.
Church and indigenous leaders will lead the march through downtown Ottawa up to Parliament Hill and the Human Rights Monument. Other church leaders will gather on Victoria Island to lead a procession.
The march will urge the Canadian government to use the UN declaration “to improve the conditions faced by many indigenous communities in Canada,” said Kairos in a statement. “First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Canada face unique challenges in terms of poverty, access to education and other measures of social well-being due to systematic violations of their human rights. The UN Declaration is one way to address these problems.”
The Anglican Church of Canada, a Kairos member, will be represented by, among others, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, national indigenous Anglican bishop, and Archbishop Terry Finlay (ret.), the primate’s envoy on residential shools. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s national bishop, Susan Johnson, and its bishop of the Eastern Synod, Michael Pryse, are also listed as participants.
Banner-making events and sendoffs will be held in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.