Open letter to His Majesty the King
September 1, 2023
RE: Petition to the Crown for a new Royal Proclamation
I sincerely hope that this letter finds you in good health and in good spirits. I wish to offer my belated congratulations on your excellent Coronation ceremony in May and hope it was a day of great joy for you and your family.
I am writing to you as a citizen of the Anishnabek Nation, which is a sovereign nation of Turtle Island, which is known as Canada. I am writing to share with you my relief and satisfaction following the remarks made by Pope Francis on March 30 th, 2023, in which he offered an official repudiation of the “Doctrine of Discovery”.
I find this cause for celebration, and invite you to share in my happiness. The Pope’s remarks come at an important time in the colonial history of Canada, when together the original Nations and Canada have embarked on a journey of reconciliation between Indigenous Nations and the state. This announcement marks a hopeful and historical moment for us all.
Throughout the years, we have petitioned in many fora for the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery and we recognize that this important announcement marks a pivotal time in our history. The rescinding of this Papal Bull is important to us in our quest for full recognition of our sovereignty, rights and title as original peoples from these lands. It is a first step to a new era where we expect to live in a fair, just and peaceful co-existence with Canadians.
In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) issued another important call for significant change in the relationship that Canada holds with Indigenous Peoples. RCAP recommended that the Sovereign issue a new Royal Proclamation which sets out the principle elements of a new relationship to signal the beginning of important changes in how Canada treats Indigenous Peoples. RCAP asked that this new Royal Proclamation invoke the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which codified and affirmed the “British Crown’s recognition of Aboriginal title and governance.”
RCAP envisioned a special celebratory gathering for the sole purpose of announcing this new Royal Proclamation which would set out greater clarity in the relationship that Canada has with the original Nations and would reconfirm Canada’s dedication to mutual respect and trust in the tradition of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
It is fortuitous that the Pope made this announcement in 2023, as we will be welcoming you as the new Sovereign and King of Canada marking a significant step forward in our history. With Canada’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Canada’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, this is a judicious time to issue a new Royal Proclamation, 260 years following King George III.
I hope that with authentic aspirations for a better future for our children and grandchildren that you, with the government of Canada, and in partnership with Indigenous leaders of the various original Nations, will consider this as a unique opportunity. Please consider this request to take the next step into a new era of better relations with Indigenous peoples to truly walk side by side in mutual respect by beginning the statecraft required to make a new Royal Proclamation a real and meaningful document that will guide the Government of Canada..
With great respect,
Lorraine Rekmans, Algonquin Territory