Indigenous lawyer Danika Littlechild doesn’t believe the SDGs are compatible with reconciliation. Here’s why.

“We’re working in a system that does not have the capacity to truly create space for...Indigenous-led initiatives to implement different Sustainable Development Goals,” she says.

Why It Matters

Successfully achieving the SDGs may be at odds with the spirit of nation-to-nation reconciliation and Indigenous self-empowerment. And without the consent of Indigenous peoples, the federal government would have a difficult time implementing a robust and credible sustainability agenda of any sort.

Throughout the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and all their associated indicators, the words ‘indigenous peoples’ show up just four times. Danika Littlechild might be the only reason they appeared at all. 

The Indigenous lawyer and assistant professor at Carleton University is quick to say she has no idea whether her arguments to a French diplomat during the final session of the Open Working Group in 2014 that finalized the SDG text actually worked. France, along with several other countries, completely opposed the explicit mention of Indigenous peoples anywhere in the text of the SDGs. Littlechild asked for a meeting with a French diplomat to change their minds. They gave her just 10 minutes to do so. 

“This is not legally binding,” she told the French diplomat. “This is a commitment.” She also said countries that endorsed the UN Declaration On The Righ

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