Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff and Grand Council Political Attache Don Nicholls represented Eeyou Istchee at the 7th Annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 21- May 2.

This year’s forum focused on climate change and bio-cultural diversity but the main concern of delegates was the implementation of the newly signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Also in attendance, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Ghislain Picard harshly criticized the Canadian government’s refusal to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“It is obvious that after 500 years, colonialism is still alive and thriving in Canada,” Chief Picard stated to the UN.

The GCCEI’s Don Nicholls explained to the Nation, “The Canadian government believes that it has reached a certain plateau because it’s signed a number of modern-day agreements, but it fails to recognize that many indigenous groups in Canada are still at an impoverished level.”

The Grand Council has been attending the UN’s Annual Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues since the first one in 2002. The Forum allows Aboriginal groups from different countries to promote indigenous rights in the world.