INUVIK, NT — On the 3rd and final day of the Dene Leadership Meeting in Inuvik, Denendeh, October 17 to 21, 2016, Dene leaders convened to discuss and make decisions on issues that concern the Dene. “Our leaders unanimously endorsed the Dene Nation to inquire in to options to make formal application to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) to become full members,” said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. “We are nations of people with constitutionally-protected rights and we have to speak up for ourselves — no one else has the authority to speak for the Dene.”
Erasmus said that in 2015 Indigenous peoples attended the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Paris on the environment adding that the Dene Nation was not at the table because the Dene are not members of the UN. “Therefore, the Dene Nation has been instructed by the Dene Leadership to look at options for full membership within the UN organization.”
During the meeting in Inuvik, Dene leaders voiced that they have an urgent need to have the Dene express themselves at all levels to communicate their concerns and desire associated with their lands, water and resources. Erasmus said there is a strong willingness for nation states to discuss and associate with the Dene, on a global basis, to deal with land issues and related climate change and global warming. “These issues are indicated in the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Paris Treaty Agreement, 2015. So, the Dene Nation will look into the options to become a member of the United Nations through submission of an application to the Secretary-General stating that the Dene Nation desires to fully represent themselves within the UN along with other land owners and governing bodies.”
Unanimously, the Dene leaders passed the motion stating that the initiative to make application to become a member in the UN be engaged with the full cooperation and support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with whom treaties have been made. The motion states: “Finally, be it resolved that the options for participation in the UN be brought back to the Dene Leadership and the Dene National Assembly for decision.”
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