Wilton “Willie” Littlechild, a renowned lawyer, expert on treaties and an international chief began his new role as a member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) on June 1.
Elders of the Maskwacîs Cree mandated Chief Littlechild in the 1970s to commence work at the international level for the protection of the treaty and inherent rights of their peoples. He took their guidance to heart and spent those years working for the recognition of the rights, specifically working on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which now has been officially accepted by Canada. He served two terms on the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and was instrumental in the development of the Expert Mechanism that serve an important role to the Human Rights Council.
The Human Rights Council established the Expert Mechanism in 2007 with the mandate to provide thematic advice in the form of studies and research on the rights of indigenous peoples as directed by the council.
Sihasak Phuangketkeow, president of the Human Rights Council, stated in his letter to Chief Littlechild: “I am confident that you will make an important contribution to the human rights work of the United Nations in the fulfillment of your mandate on behalf of the Human Rights Council.”
A former MP for Wetaskiwin, Littlechild also serves as a commissioner with the Trust and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools and remains an advocate for Indigenous peoples throughout the world.