Social Justice Stories

building compassion, tolerance, and responsible citizenship through social justice narratives

Human Rights

Do you know your rights? Do you know your responsibilities? As a member of a community, you are entitled to a long list of human rights designed to protect and keep you safe.

However, along with those rights comes great responsibility. It is up to all of us as community members to make sure that everyone is protected and has the opportunity to stand up and be heard. First Nations/Native American groups believe that we are all interconnected and responsible for one another - to ensure that each community members' physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs are met. The life stories of those included in the First Nations for Young Readers profile how each individual used these values to learn and develop meaningful personal connections, overcome obstacles to face challenges, and transform those difficulties into lessons, applying what they have learned to make positive change. They have acknowledged their responsibility as individuals to protect the liberties of all community members. Remember, the fight for human rights starts in your own community.

The activities below start with Introducing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, giving you the opportunity to reflect upon how human rights apply in your own life and to consider the relationship between the Convention and our collective responsibility as a community to protect the rights of everyone. You can then use what you have learned to explore Activity #2: First Nations/Native American Traditional Code of Ethics in my Life, going on to consider how the Aboriginal individuals in the Series have applied the Code to inform their own experience. For example, how did they react to violations of their human rights? How did they stand up, not only, for their rights but also for others in their community? We hope the activities in this section will prompt you to examine your beliefs about your own power to make choices, to make informed decisions, and to participate in active citizenship. We are all entitled to human rights. However, we also have the responsibility to make choices that protect and ensure that those rights are extended to all members of our community.

As you work your way through this section and start looking at the activities listed in the next section, Social Injustice, reflect upon the following questions:

  • What are your rights as a community member?

  • What are your responsibilities as a community member?

  • What choices are you making to ensure everyone's rights are protected?

  • What choices could you make to help protect human rights in your community?

  • Are there any lessons I can learn from First Nations/Native American Traditional Code of Ethics that I can apply in my own life and community?