JUNE 29, 2007 (VANCOUVER) – Ecotrust Canada, a nonprofit environmental and community development organization, is marching in unity with First Nations during the National Day of Action in Vancouver today. Some 25 staff and management are joining with First Nations and other Canadians to support their struggle for rights and title, and for investment in Aboriginal communities to alleviate the poverty that has prevented First Nations from sharing in Canada's growing prosperity.
“While Canada regularly scores at the top to the United Nations Human Development Index, Aboriginal communities rank around 78th and share a standard of living closer to Kazahkstan than to Kelowna,” says Ian Gill, President of Ecotrust Canada. “We need to respect Aboriginal rights and title, and invest in First Nations to allow them to contribute to Canada's economic vibrancy.”
Ecotrust Canada has signed protocols or carried out economic development projects with some two dozen First Nations in B.C. The organization co-founded the Aboriginal Mapping Network and its subsidiary Ecotrust Canada Capital has provided $2.7 million in loans to 13 Aboriginal entrepreneurs.
“Working closely with Aboriginal communities for more than a decade, we know that there is huge potential for First Nations to revive B.C.'s rural economy with their energy and entrepreneurship,” adds Gill. “However, investments need to be made and Aboriginal rights absolutely must be respected. The Parliament of Canada should adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the government should fulfill its funding commitments in the Kelowna Accord of 2005.”
Ecotrust Canada staff will be assembling at Vanier Park and march with a banner to Library Square for the National Day of Action rally at 12:00 noon on Friday, June 29.
About Ecotrust Canada: Ecotrust Canada is a non-profit charitable organization whose purpose is to build the conservation economy, where economic opportunity improves rather than degrades social and environmental conditions. Founded in 1994, it is headquartered in Vancouver with field offices in Tofino and Courtenay.
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