It’s about a better future.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration Act) became law in B.C. on November 28, 2019. Through this act, the Province formally adopted the internationally recognized standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration).

The Declaration Act mandates government to bring provincial laws into alignment with the UN Declaration and develop and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration Act Action Plan (3.9MB PDF), released on March 30, 2022, outlines how we will bring the UN Declaration into harmony with our work over the next five years.

Supporting these cross-government actions is the Declaration Act Secretariat. Announced in Budget 2022, the Secretariat is a dedicated body created to coordinate and assist all ministries as they work to align provincial laws with the UN Declaration.

Read more about the Declaration Act Secretariat, who they are and about the ‘Interim Approach to Implement the Requirements of Section 3 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.’

Together, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, we will advance reconciliation in tangible and measurable ways in B.C. – today and into the future.

First Nations Summit, Assembly of First Nations and Union of British Columbian Indian Chiefs logos

Action Plan

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan

The Declaration Act Action Plan was developed through two years of intensive engagement to ensure it aligned with the priorities of Indigenous Peoples in B.C. It includes goals, outcomes, and tangible actions needed for meaningful progress in reconciliation.

Each ministry in government will work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples to deliver on their specific actions in tangible and measurable ways. The Province will report annually on progress made on the Action Plan to ensure transparency and accountability over the next five years and beyond.

Action Plan goals

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Self-Determination and Inherent Right of Self-Government

Indigenous Peoples exercise and have full enjoyment of their rights to self-determination and self-government, including developing, maintaining and implementing their own institutions, laws, governing bodies, and political, economic and social structures related to Indigenous communities.

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Title and Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples exercise and have full enjoyment of their inherent rights, including the rights of First Nations to own, use, develop and control lands and resources within their territories in B.C.

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Ending Indigenous-Specific Racism and Discrimination

Indigenous Peoples fully express and exercise their distinct rights, and enjoy living in B.C. without interpersonal, systemic and institutional interference, oppression or other inequities associated with Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination, wherever they reside.

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Social, Cultural and Economic Well-Being

Indigenous Peoples in B.C. fully enjoy and exercise their distinct rights to maintain, control, develop, protect and transmit their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, languages, food systems, sciences and technologies. They are supported by initiatives that promote connection, development, access and improvement, as well as full participation in all aspects of B.C.’s economy. This includes particular focus on ensuring the rights of Indigenous women, youth, Elders, children, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are upheld

What people are saying about the Action Plan

Testimonial 2022-01 – Lissa Dawn Smith

"Providing culturally relevant, Métis-led childcare that considers the operational realities of Métis childcare operators and the unique needs of our Métis children, families and communities is a critical goal of MNBC. We appreciate the Province’s dedication to building a universal childcare system that takes a distinctions-based approach and allows MNBC to have jurisdiction over childcare for our children. We value this approach that respects Métis self-determination and the commitment of the Province’s childcare division to work in collaboration and partnership with MNBC."

– Lissa Dawn Smith, President, Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC)

Testimonial 2022-02 – Professor Brenda Gunn

"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission referred to the UN Declaration as the framework for reconciliation. At its heart, the UN Declaration is about shifting the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the government from a colonial one to a relationship based on upholding Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination through mutual respect and partnership. The work to implement the UN Declaration through this Action Plan is a critical step toward reconciliation."

– Professor Brenda Gunn, Academic and Research Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Testimonial 2022-03 – Neil Belanger

"Recognizing and incorporating the voices, knowledge and directions of Indigenous Peoples living with disabilities is a vital component in ensuring the validity and responsiveness of the Declaration Act Action Plan. We look forward to working with our communities and their membership, Indigenous organizations and the Government of British Columbia to ensure that through the Declaration Act and future initiatives, Indigenous Peoples, including those living with disabilities, are the catalyst for change, and in being so, the creators of the foundation necessary for a barrier-free and inclusive province based on respect and self-determination, where all Indigenous Peoples have the ability to thrive."

– Neil Belanger, Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Disability Canada/British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society

Testimonial 2022-04 – Brenda Baptiste

"The launch of the Action Plan will provide a strong foundation to achieve the objectives of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and is a path to move forward with intention. We have important work to do as we navigate this shift of equality and alignment with First Nations and Indigenous Peoples."

– Brenda Baptiste, Chair, Indigenous Tourism BC

Testimonial 2022-05 – Professor John Burrows

"I am encouraged by the Declaration Act Action Plan. It will empower Indigenous Peoples in the province and create key pathways for deeper engagement designed to benefit all British Columbians."

– Professor John Burrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous law, University of Victoria Law School

Testimonial 2022-06 – James Delorme

"As Indigenous Peoples we have always embraced technology. We now witness a sector that is growing exponentially, and we see clearly, Indigenous participation within technology-based opportunities is growing at the same rate. The B.C. government’s pledge to prioritize and increase the number of technology sector training opportunities for Indigenous Peoples is a ground swell of inspiration. I am overjoyed at the opportunities for citizens, communities, and organizations to aspire to generational transformation to further our participation."

– James Delorme, President, Indigeknow

Testimonial 2022-07 – Laird Cronk

"This Action Plan is a crucial step in making the aspirations and promise of the Declaration Act a reality. It’s part of our ongoing journey of righting the historic wrongs and enduring legacy of colonialism, and ensuring the full inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in participating in and shaping the economic life of the province. We look forward to the certainty and clarity that mean more opportunities and a stronger, more prosperous future for communities and working families — Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike."

– Laird Cronk, President, and Sussanne Skidmore, Secretary-Treasurer, BC Federation of Labour

Testimonial 2022-08 – Line Robert

"The inclusion of First Nations leadership and communities in Trust governance and decision making will be a game-changer for our region. The greatest value of the Trust model is the grassroots decision-making process which values and optimizes local knowledge. The formal inclusion and integration of First Nations knowledge, point of views and ideas will enable ICET to evolve into a truly regional vehicle for the action-focused economic reconciliation, collaboration and decision-making required to address our collective challenges and opportunities."

– Line Robert, Chief Executive Officer, Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)

Testimonial 2022-09 – Matthew Norris

"This is a promising first step that has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous youth and future generations. A central principal of the Declaration is the recognition of Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, to self-government and to free, prior and informed consent and it is important that these principles are reflected within the Action Plan. I further welcome the province distinction's based approach and the inclusion of the urban Indigenous community within this Action Plan. Given ample resourcing and a willingness to create the time and space for Indigenous peoples to engage in nation-building and address the complex and interwoven legacies of colonialism, this Action Plan holds real promise and will result in a better province for Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike.""

– Matthew Norris, President, Urban Native Youth Association

Testimonial 2022-10 – Chief Charlie Cootes

"The Action Plan to implement UNDRIP is a significant step in achieving lasting reconciliation between the Province of British Columbia and Indigenous Peoples. Modern Treaty Nations have a unique, and distinct, relationship with the Province and we are pleased to see the Action Plan reflects this and speaks to our Shared Priorities Framework. We look forward to advancing the meaningful work of implementing the Action Plan collaboratively with our treaty partners."

– Chief Charlie Cootes, Uchucklesaht Tribe, on behalf of the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations

Testimonial 2022-11 – Hiwus Warren Paull

"Meeting the objectives of the UN Declaration is fundamental to the future of British Columbia. It is the pathway to ensuring the basic human rights of Indigenous Peoples are upheld, and building a shared future that is resilient and cohesive. The Declaration Act Action Plan is one important step towards that future. While the work ahead is tremendous, we are ready to do our part to see these actions fully implemented in our territory and across the province."

– Hiwus Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation

Testimonial 2022-12 – Chief Murphy Abraham

"Lake Babine Nation appreciated the opportunity to help shape the Action Plan, and now we look forward to working with the Province to implement it. This will be hard and challenging work for all of us, but I believe that with continued commitment, dialogue, and collaboration, we can use this Action Plan to improve the road for our future generation from here on forward. There is no greater imperative in front of us than the one to create respect and recognition between us and ensure that current and future generations of our peoples live in dignity and unity. The Lake Babine Nation Foundation Agreement, signed in 2020, and B.C.’s Action Plan, will serve as powerful and shared roadmaps to that of a stronger future for both Lake Babine Nation and British Columbia."

– Chief Murphy Abraham, Lake Babine Nation

Testimonial 2022-13 – Colleen Erickson

"Working alongside our federal and provincial partners, there have been important changes implemented for COVID-19 and the toxic drug supply states of emergency that has had a positive impact on Indigenous Peoples. This Action Plan is a continuation of this work. The FNHA, as a strong active partner, looks forward to supporting our First Nation communities in the implementation of this plan."

– Colleen Erickson, Board Chair, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

Testimonial 2022-14 – Richard Jock

"FNHA looks forward to continuing to work with federal and provincial partners to address the health and wellness issues which are front of mind for First Nations communities. These are unprecedented times with COVID-19, residential school discoveries, climate change, toxic drug crisis, and addressing racism. We look forward to full involvement in the process going forward in the spirit of UNDRIP focused on mental health and addictions and are ready for the challenges and the emerging opportunities over the coming months."

– Richard Jock, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

Testimonial 2022-15 – Joel McKay

"The specific goals and actions in this plan demonstrate this government is taking true, meaningful steps toward reconciliation in British Columbia. For a decade, Northern Development has advocated to include Indigenous leadership in our governance structure – this plan shows that it is now, finally, a priority. I want to thank the Province for their leadership. We look forward to working with this government and Indigenous leaders across northern B.C. to find a way to ensure they can meaningfully participate in our shared goal to build a stronger north."

– Joel McKay, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Development Initiatives Trust

Testimonial 2022-16 – Tyrone McNeil

"For many years, the First Nations Education Steering Committee has advocated for systemic changes in support of First Nations students and to advance First Nations control of First Nations education in B.C. The Action Plan represents a significant commitment from the Province to transform the education system, in partnership with First Nations, so that it meets the needs of First Nations learners."

– Tyrone McNeil, President, First Nations Education Steering Committee

Testimonial 2022-17 – Doug White QC

"The Action Plan presented today confirms the shared priority and commitment of the First Nations and the government of British Columbia to implement the BC First Nations Justice Strategy. Addressing the over-incarceration crisis of First Nations people in B.C. will require urgent and collective work to change the criminal justice system and create new Indigenous justice systems. This work will require significant investment, re-allocation of existing resources, and a robust accountability framework."

– Doug White QC, Chair, BC First Nations Justice Council

Testimonial 2022-18 – Rosalie Yazzie

"Today’s Action Plan represents an important advancement towards reconciliation between B.C. First Nations and the Government of British Columbia. The Action Plan clearly articulates the Province’s commitment to prioritize the implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy as one of its key priorities. For far too long, First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples have been over-represented in the criminal justice system and now is the time to work towards greater self-determination in all matters, including justice. The Action Plan has been crafted to not only outline the Province’s commitments, but it also calls for annual reporting to the Legislature. We look forward to receiving the Province’s first progress report with respect to implementation of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy."

– Rosalie Yazzie, Vice-Chair, BC First Nations Justice Council

Testimonial 2022-19 – Jordan Point

"The Action Plan marks a promising shift from commitments to on-the-ground implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The First Nations Fisheries Council of BC is happy to see that the Action Plan incorporates information distilled from a robust FNFC-led First Nations engagement process. The feedback from First Nations participants clearly identified the need to break down silos and create a stronger structured and ongoing relationship with the provincial government regarding fish, fisheries, and aquatic habitat. The Action Plan shows the path to working more collaboratively with First Nations and the need to invest in their capacity early and often. There is no quick fix, but we are hopeful that the Action Plan can drive a new era of capacity-building and recognition of Aboriginal title and rights."

– Jordan Point, Executive Director, First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia (FNFC)

Testimonial 2022-20 – Barb Ward-Burkitt

"Taking a serious look at ways to ensure Indigenous workers and employers are full partners in our economy is an important step as government works toward authentic and respectful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in B.C. We look forward to working together with government and Indigenous Peoples to make meaningful change a reality now and for future generations."

– Barb Ward-Burkitt, Executive Director, Prince George Native Friendship Centre

Testimonial 2022-21 – Jenna Forbes

"So often policy is created without a commitment to moving the policy forward and transparently letting the community know how the policy will the benefit constituents/stakeholders, which can lead the community further into disconnect. I am so pleased to learn of the Declaration Act Action Plan and am eager to hear how the B.C. government will lead a justice strategy that will encompass the diversity of Indigenous Peoples residing in this beautiful province and look forward to more conversations about our urban Indigenous needs."

– Ki’ilaga’a/Jenna Forbes, Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society

Testimonial 2022-22 – Greg D’Avignon

"The Business Council of British Columbia strongly supports British Columbia’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the direction of the 2022-2027 Action Plan. Accessing capital and generating own-source income is key to enabling self-determination for Indigenous communities and for making progress on social, health, educational and economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples across the province. We applaud the province for its pledge to accelerate collaborative problem solving among industry, government, and Indigenous people, and look forward to continuing our shared efforts to advance meaningful reconciliation."

– Greg D'Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Council of British Columbia

Testimonial 2022-23 – Kendra Johnston

"AME supports the B.C. government’s Declaration Act Action Plan and is committed to actively working with the province to help advance its commitment to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act in consultation and collaboration with First Nations and First Nations organizations. We have a multi-generational opportunity to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act while also maintaining business continuity and enhancing the global competitiveness of the mineral exploration industry. By working together on this action, we are confident a more inclusive process can be established, one that respects the principles of the UN Declaration, advances reconciliation and helps support robust regional economies across the province. As mineral explorers, we know we must plan to engage, explore and mine in a way that is realistic to our future."

– Kendra Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Mineral Exploration (AME)

Testimonial 2022-24 – Susan Yurkovich

"The Action Plan announced today is another positive step forward on the path towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in B.C. and COFI and our members look forward to supporting the plan’s goals and implementation in the months and years ahead. As government-to-government discussions continue to advance, we remain committed to doing our part to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ rights, connections to the land and diverse cultures. We will also continue to work to advocate for meaningful revenue sharing and to encourage increased indigenous participation in the forest industry as owners, business and stewardship partners."

– Susan Yurkovich, President and Chief Operating Officer, BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI)

Testimonial 2022-25 – Chris Pieper

"We look forward to working with the Province and our Indigenous partners based in the ETSI-BC service area to create a mechanism that ensures on-going First Nations representation in our governance structure and their inclusion in our Regional Advisory Committee activities to help ensure everyone is part of growing the local economy."

– Chris Pieper, Board Chair, Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC)

Testimonial 2022-26 – Regional Chief Terry Teegee

"The launch of the Declaration Act on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Action Plan is a significant step toward the implementation of the UN Declaration. The relationships that have been built, and the commitments set out in the Action Plan, provide a concrete pathway for transformational change, and the accountability mechanisms set out through annual reporting and reviews of the Action Plan will help ensure we stay on track. The good faith efforts made by everyone who contributed to this body of work are worth recognizing and celebrating. The work to come will not be easy, but I am hopeful we can build upon our success and lessons learned to ensure that First Nations are full partners in this work, and that First Nations inherent rights are meaningfully upheld in alignment with the visions set out within their own laws and supported by international laws including the UN Declaration."

– Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations

Testimonial 2022-27 – Cheryl Casimer

"The passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act just over two years ago was an historic step forward for the Government of B.C. in righting its relationship with First Nations – taking a concrete step to move away from a tradition of rights-denial toward a modernized relationship based on human rights, cooperation and partnership. While it is not perfect, the long-awaited DRIPA Action Plan focuses on pragmatic and systemic changes needed so that our communities are supported in their resilience, rights and self-determination and will assist in meeting the objectives of the UN Declaration to uphold the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of First Nations citizens. This is another important step on our collective paths towards reconciliation."

– Cheryl Casimer, Political Executive, First Nations Summit

Testimonial 2022-28 – Ry Moran

"As outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation across all sectors and levels of society. Affirmation, protection and implementation of the inherent and inalienable human rights enshrined within UNDRIP is vital. This plan moves British Columbia forward."

– Ry Moran, Associate University Librarian (Reconciliation), University of Victoria

Testimonial 2022-29 – Chief Lee Spahan

"Our people have always been a part of the burning of the land, it is of our responsibility as stewards. We will continue to do it and pass the teachings on to our children for generations to come. We have just started to recover from last years’ wildfires, and are hard at work preparing for the next one. The Province’s commitment to partnering with First Nations in emergency management is very important to us. We look forward to holding the Province accountable to what it has promised in this Action Plan."

– Chief Lee Spahan, Coldwater Indian Band

Testimonial 2022-30 – Chief Byron Louis

"Currently, many aspects of our Indigenous food systems are not within the mandate of British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food that may require a broader whole of government approach. Our food security and food sovereignty are deeply entwined with the ecological health of our Indigenous territories, which are increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change and associated threats. Our worldviews, knowledge systems, relationships with our lands and territories, and inherent rights to self-determination, including to maintain, control, protect and develop our social, economic, cultural and heritage which supports our local economies, guide the Indigenous Advisory Council on Agriculture and Food’s objectives and work. The Council is working in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to strengthen Indigenous food systems, increase Indigenous participation in the agriculture and food sector, and to ensure recognition of Indigenous food systems in their foundational and interconnected role in providing for cultural, social, environmental, and economic well-being."

– Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band and Chair, Indigenous Advisory Council on Agriculture and Food (IACAF)

Testimonial 2022-31 – Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

"Two years ago, the seeds of change were sown – a future rife with the promises of true transformation and reconciliation became possible with the historic passage of the Declaration Act. Make no mistake, there have been and there will continue to be numerous obstacles that challenge the work being done to revolutionize and rebuild a relationship that has long been mired in colonial violence and discrimination. Today is not only a day of celebration but a day of reflection and accountability. We must reflect on the processes, frameworks, and institutions that continue to deny the Title and Rights of First Nations, enact tremendous harm upon our communities, and perpetuate a colonial cycle of marginalization and violence. We must hold our governments and those in positions of power accountable for their actions and their commitments to the Declaration Act. With hope in our hearts we celebrate, reflect, and continue the fight for change."

– Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Testimonial 2022-32 – Kilsaay Kaaji Sding

"B.C. showed leadership in adopting the Declaration Act as its framework for reconciliation, as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This Action Plan is for implementing the Declaration Act and UN Declaration in B.C. This Action Plan is necessary for making the Declaration Act meaningful and ensuring our future together in this place proceeds on a Nation-to-Nation basis that respects the Nationhood and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and enables us together, as Indigenous Peoples and British Columbians, to build societies and economies that work in balance with this wonderful place we call home and that provides abundance and well-being for all of us. Action #4.42, under which metrics will be co-developed to evaluate progress on reconciliation, is particularly important. The National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development, a joint initiative of the Gustavson School of Business and Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria, looks forward to providing support on this initiative fundamental to the success of the Action Plan and B.C.’s Declaration Act. The implementation of this Action Plan will test the commitment of all in building a new relationship going forward."

– Kilsaay Kaaji Sding/Miles Richardson OC, Director, National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development

Testimonial 2022-33 – Chad Day

"The Tahltan Nation has appreciated the opportunity for input into the Action Plan, and we are committed to working with the Province to implement the plan as well as the entire UN Declaration in British Columbia. It is critical that Indigenous Peoples have a say in, and can benefit from, the resources in their territories today and in the future. We are continuing our partnership with the provincial government to build tools to effectively share decision making for natural resource development in Tahltan Territory."

– President Chad Day, Tahltan Central Government

Testimonial 2022-34 – Kasari Govender

"Today’s introduction of the Action Plan is a key step in realizing the promise of the Declaration Act. The Plan’s commitments to addressing racism in our education system are critical for the wellbeing of future generations and transformative change across our society. Further, the investments in B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal and Indigenous models of complaint resolution are heartening. For too long, Indigenous peoples have felt excluded from the human rights system here in B.C., and we know that human rights laws are meaningless without real access to justice. Culturally appropriate remedies are a key element of the Declaration, and these investments are vital for bringing that idea to life. The Action Plan is an important start, but the Declaration Act requires more: it requires broad, tangible and transparent implementation across all of government, including through further investments and actions aimed at addressing the ongoing economic disadvantages created by colonization. In my role as B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, I will continue to stand with Indigenous communities in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Declaration Act – both as contained in this plan and beyond."

– Kasari Govender, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner

Reconciliation talks

Why the Declaration Act matters

The Declaration Act aims to create a path forward that respects the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, while making the work we do together transparent and predictable.

This path forward is grounded in the legislation’s four key areas:

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Moving Forward 2022- 1

Alignment of laws

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Moving Forward 2022 – 2

Reconciliation in action

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Moving Forward 2022 – 3

Transparency and accountability

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Moving Forward 2022 – 4

Making decisions together

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Why reconciliation matters

When we work together with Indigenous Peoples, we build a future with better opportunities for people, good jobs, strong environmental protections, and healthy communities.

Read and watch the stories below that capture the work being done to build a future where First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in B.C. have their full share of prosperity and opportunity to pursue their dreams and raise their families.

Working together for the children – 3 Nations

Posted on October 21, 2019


Promoting economic opportunity in the Sechelt area

Posted on October 21, 2019


Dūłą̄́ Metsī́nlī́ Déh: The Final Chapter of the Lower Post Residential School

Posted on March 18, 2022


Protecting the Sacred Headwaters of the Klappan Valley

Posted on October 15, 2019


More information and resources can be found on the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation website.