Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation: Current Problems

Fed. Govt.


December 11, 2021


First Nations

24th anniversary of Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision

Union of BC Indian Chiefs – UBCIC marks the 24th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ground-breaking Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision, which confirmed the continuing existence of the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Title and Rights, contrary to provincial claims that their Title, if it had existed, had been extinguished. On December 11, 1997 the six members of the Court taking part in the judgment were unanimous in their conclusions that the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Title and Rights were never extinguished by Crown occupation, and recognized Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Title as inalienable, collective rights, based on their continuing use and occupation of their territories.

Since 2019 the RCMP have used force, aggression, and intimidatory tactics against Wet’suwet’en Nation members and allies, and UBCIC notes that while the CGL pipeline has been approved by both provincial and federal governments, it has come under criticism from Amnesty International, B.C.’s Human Rights Commission and the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, who say all First Nations affected by the pipeline should give free, prior and informed consent before it can proceed.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia continue to openly ignore the Supreme Court of Canada’s precedent-setting Delgamuukw decision, greenlighting the RCMP to engage in whatever violent tactics it deems appropriate to remove peaceful land defenders from their territories. UBCIC also notes that in 2020 the governments of Canada and B.C. signed an MOU with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs which included:

  • Canada and B.C. recognize that Wet’suwet’en rights and title are held by Wet’suwet’en houses under their system of governance.
  • Canada and B.C. recognize Wet’suwet’en Aboriginal rights and title throughout the Yintah.
  • Legal recognition that the Wet’suwet’en Houses are the Indigenous governing body holding the
  • Wet’suwet’en Aboriginal rights and title in accordance with [their] lnuk Nuatden.
  • Legal recognition of Wet’suwet’en title as a legal interest in land by Canada and B.C.

The UBCIC calls on Canada and BC to uphold the landmark Delagamuukw-Gisday’wa decision and federal and provincial legislation to implement the UN Declaration, and stop any violent or discriminatory practices against Wet’suwet’en land defenders defending their unceded territories.


November 21, 2021


First Nations

25th Anniversay of the RCAP Final Report

Prime Minister’s Office – “25th anniversary of the final report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples”.
The five-volume landmark document outlined 440 recommendations on Indigenous governance, nation rebuilding, lands and resources, treaties, economic development, and social policy, and called for the renewal of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and all orders of government in Canada.

“The Government of Canada established the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (the Commission) in 1991, in the aftermath of the conflict at Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawà:ke, during a time of upheaval, concern, and hope, following longstanding challenges across the country. The Commission’s comprehensive mandate was developed in consultation with national and regional Indigenous leaders and groups, and federal, provincial, and territorial elected representatives. Its mandate was to investigate the evolution of the relationship between Indigenous peoples, the Canadian government, and Canadian society as a whole, propose specific solutions to the problems that have hindered those relationships, and examine all issues it deemed relevant to Indigenous peoples in Canada. What has happened since?

The RCAP Final Report was issued 25 years ago and many of its 440 recommendations were never implemented as acknowledged by Prime Minister Trudeau who stated, “Since 1996, the Commission’s report has continued to inform the actions of successive governments to support Indigenous peoples, even if many of its recommendations have not been fully implemented.”

As of March 22, 2022, according to the Indigenous Watchdog “TRC Calls to Action Status Progress Snapshot” the federal government has completed 8 of the 76 Calls to Action for which they are either directly or jointly accountable. That is 8 completed Calls to Action in 6 ½ years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its Summary Report on June 2, 2015.

As the Prime Minister pointed out: “The report concluded that many policies pursued since the colonial period onwards had been wrong. In a country built on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples, many government policies and societal practices have led to the systemic erosion of many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures, identities, practices, and governance structures and systems.”

25 years later, that statement still rings true. And 25 years later, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people are still waiting for substantive change to take place.


January 7, 2020


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

8 Ways to champion Human Rights

Toronto Star – Toronto Star identified eight ways that Canada can champion human rights in the 2020s, including the following:

  • First step is to adopt overdue legislation making the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Canada’s framework for rights and reconciliation. And to show we truly mean it:
    • address mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows First Nation,
    • halt construction of the Site C dam in NE British Columbia and
    • redress years of discrimination against First Nations children
  • Second, the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has been released. Now is time to create a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People, harmonized with a wider National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.

In addition, two of the other 8 issues by default include Indigenous populations:

  • we are beginning to shake off the smug denial that racism is a concern in Canada. We need to move from anguished hand-wringing to meaningful action. Governments across the country should work to address racism in policing, beginning with consistent laws to ban carding and random street checks.
  • Naming the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise last April may help address human rights abuses by Canadian mining and other companies when they operate abroad. But that will remain an empty gesture unless the federal government grants her office the powers to conduct effective investigations. (This impacts Indigenous peoples in other countries where Canadian mining companies operate)

That’s 50% of 8 recommendations!


June 15, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

AFN/Canada Race Race Relations Foundation poll

Assembly of First Nations – Thirteen years after the Government of Canada offered a formal apology to the survivors of the residential school system and families, 68 percent of Canadians polled still say they were either unaware of the severity of abuses at residential schools or completely shocked by it.

A poll conducted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the Assembly of First Nations and Abacus Data shows that the majority of Canadians believe governments are not doing enough to teach students about the legacy of the residential school system. “The results of the survey expose glaring gaps of knowledge and education related to Canada’s history and renew calls to re-examine questions around who should be held accountable.

  • 93 percent of Canadians are aware of the discovery of remains at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, with 58 percent Canadians following the news closely.
  • This is a slight increase (seven percent) in the number of Canadians who were closely following the news on the legacy of residential schools upon the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, nearly six years ago.
  • Despite 72 percent of Canadians being saddened by the news of the mass grave, only 10 percent of Canadians are very familiar with the history of the residential school system
  • 62 percent of Canadians believe that provincial education curricula do not include nearly enough about residential schools,
  • 65 percent believe the level of education around residential schools should increase.
  • 70 percent of survey respondents say that the framing of residential schools has been downplayed in the education system.

The majority of Canadians are unequivocal about whom should take responsibility for the damage done by the residential school system:

  • Ninety percent of respondents believe that the federal government is liable for the damage caused by residential schools, followed by the Catholic Church (81 percent) and the RCMP (80 percent).
  • Four out of five Canadians would like to see the Pope formally apologize to the survivors of residential schools. Nearly as many want the federal government to offer more funding to identify other possible mass graves at all residential school sites.

“By margins of greater than three to one, Canadians are telling us they want action on First Nations priorities,” added AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “People want to see Canada accelerate progress on the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, invest in efforts to identify all unmarked graves at residential schools, and to stop fighting against our children and residential school survivors in court. Decisionmakers at all levels must heed these calls for action. These are some of the ways we can truly honour the lives of those who were so tragically lost.”


May 8, 2019


Inuit

Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting (Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)

CBC – For the first time, the final declaration of the Ministers of the 8 countries that make up the ICC did not include the views of the Arctic Council’s permanent Indigenous organizations, Unlike the usual declarations, which are developed with their input, the compromise joint ministerial statement – which did not include any reference to “climate change” at the insistence of the United States – was put together without them. The ICC, which represents 165,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia, blasted the U.S. for torpedoing the Rovaniemi Declaration at Tuesday’s Arctic Council ministerial after refusing to sign on if the words “climate change” were included in the joint document.
James Stotts, ICC’s Alaska president, said sidelining Indigenous contributions and views was a dangerous precedent for the Arctic Council, a forum that has long prided itself for including Arctic Indigenous groups since its founding.


February 3, 2020


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

CTV News – People from a Manitoba First Nation destroyed by flooding nearly nine years ago met in Winnipeg on Monday after a federal court upheld a decision by the federal government last week to end benefits for evacuees still waiting to go home Chief Adrian Sinclair has expressed concern some people, who have been temporarily living in Winnipeg since severe flooding displaced around 1,400 people, could end up homeless with evacuation benefits coming to an end.

The federal government said Monday, financial support is ending because there’s more housing now than before the flood.
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November 7, 2019


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

Government of Canada – announcement by the Government of Canada to cut off funding for emergency aid to residents of Lake St. Martin First Nation in Manitoba on Dec. 31. 2019 with the expectation that new housing stock – needed due to the massive 2011 flood – will be finished by then to accommodate all evacuees. Lake St. Martin Chief Adrian Sinclair says the recent storm, and other factors have delayed the completion of houses on the First Nation.

When a massive flood hit Manitoba, the Government of Manitoba decided to divert water to Lake St. Martin in order to protect cottage, and agricultural properties on other bodies of water. As a result, all the housing at Lake St. Martin First Nation was destroyed. As of 2014, the approximately 1,900 flood evacuees are still displaced (Wikipedia).


November 6, 2019


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

Nov. 6, 2019 – While some have returned to newly constructed houses, 991 people are still waiting for a place to live, 400 of them children. (CTV)


September 12, 2017


Inuit

Failure to reach Inuit employment targets

A full set of Inuit employment plans with targets and timelines for expanded Inuit employment were supposed to have been completed for each federal and territorial department by 1996. The Nunavut Inuit Labor Force Analysis (NILFA) report issued on Aug. 27, 2018 offers details on relevant issues and background
A recent report by Nunavut Tunngavit Inc. estimates lost wages to Nunavut Inuit in government work forces to be $1.284B from 2017-2023. The report also estimates unnecessary costs over the same period to be $519M. The Government of Nunavut workforce has been stalled at an approximately 50% Inuit participation rate, concentrated at lower pay grades, while Federal Government work force is at an even lower level. The Nunavut Inuit Labor Force Analysis (NILFA) is a thorough 1000-page report that analyzes Inuit interest, availability and preparedness for government employment.
https://moderntreaties.tlicho.ca/sites/default/files/nti-nilfa-2018-highlights.pdf


July 12, 2022


First Nations

Federal government is failing First Nation fishers, Senate Committee on Fishing and Oceans finds

NationTalk: Halifax – More than 23 years after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling affirmed the treaty fishing rights of certain First Nations, the federal government has failed to fully implement Indigenous rights-based fisheries, according to a new report by the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Peace on the Water: Advancing the Full Implementation of Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati Rights-Based Fisheries examines the federal government’s response to the Marshall decision and the implementation of the rights of First Nation communities in parts of Atlantic Canada and Quebec to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood.

The scope of the study focuses on the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in R. v. Marshall, which upheld the treaty rights of First Nation communities to fish in pursuit of a “moderate livelihood” by catching and selling fish year-round. This decision affected 35 Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati First Nations in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Gaspé region of Quebec.

Witnesses told the committee that the failure of consecutive federal governments to fully implement rights-based fisheries has resulted in tension, disagreements and violence between First Nations and non-First Nations fishers in parts of Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The committee also heard several allegations of systemic racism within federal departments and agencies, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Witnesses testified how federal authorities have pursued an enforcement approach that has surveyed and criminalized First Nation fishers, yet failed to protect them from acts of intimidation and violence. Further, the committee heard how Fisheries and Oceans Canada prioritizes commercial fisheries over rights-based fisheries.

The study makes 10 recommendations on how the federal government can fully implement Indigenous rights-based fisheries, including reallocating commercial traps to the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati, developing tools to educate the public about rights-based fisheries, and integrating Indigenous laws, principles and knowledge with scientific data into decision-making processes. The report concludes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to implementing Indigenous rights-based fisheries and that any solutions must be reached in collaboration with First Nation communities.

Quick Facts

  • Fisheries across Canada fall into two categories. Rights-based fisheries are based on Aboriginal or treaty rights set out in historic and modern treaties between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. Privilege-based fisheries, like commercial or recreational fisheries, are often fee-based and subject to limitations through licencing and regulation.
  • Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie found that the Peace and Friendship treaties negotiated between the British Crown and First Nation communities in 1760 and 1761 “affirm the right of the Mi’kmaq people to continue to provide for their own sustenance by taking the products of their hunting, fishing and other gathering activities and trading for what in 1760 was termed ‘necessaries’.”

Quotes

“We have heard loud and clear from First Nation witnesses that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing Indigenous rights-based fisheries. It is crucial that the federal government immediately take steps to co-manage rights-based fisheries with First Nations across the country.”

– Senator Fabian Manning, Chair of the committee

“It has been 23 long years since the Marshall ruling. The Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati communities are still waiting for their fishing rights to be fully implemented. They should not have to wait any longer.”

– Senator Bev Busson, Deputy Chair of the committee

“We need to focus on a reconciliation approach to distributing fishing licences instead of a ‘buyback’ approach. The exercise of Indigenous rights cannot, and should not, be contingent on the federal government’s ability to buy back licences from commercial fishers.”

– Senator Brian Francis, member of the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure


July 13, 2022


First Nations

Federal government is failing First Nation fishers, Senate Committee on Fishing and Oceans finds: REBUTTAL

HALIFAX, NS – The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance (UFCA) is voicing its grave dissatisfaction and frustration over a study released by the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans earlier this week on Indigenous rights-based fisheries, specifically those affirmed in the 1999 Marshall decisions. The report dismisses over twenty-two years of work by the federal government to implement Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati rights-based fisheries and its approach to negotiations and the methods used to gain more access for First Nations.

“The findings are incredibly biased and do not adequately represent the legal realities of the Marshall decisions,” says Colin Sproul, President of the UFCA. “It appears to have been written without substantial engagement from those closest to the fishing industry and without legal context to the fishery,” says Sproul, adding that broader consultation with industry and legal experts is required to ensure it reflects the current realities of the commercial fishery.

While the Marshall decisions (I & II) affirm the Indigenous Right to participate in the largely regulated fishery, the UFCA argues the study fails to recognize the substantial commercial access that has been granted to, and held by Indigenous communities since this affirmation. The value that the federal government has invested for First Nations impacted by the Marshall decision is nearly $1-billion and per capita, First Nations have more commercial fishery access than non-Indigenous. Furthermore, hundreds of Commercial Communal licences, provided for the pursuit of a moderate livelihood, are controlled and leased by Chief and Council to non-Indigenous commercial fishers for a royalty.

“We support Indigenous fishing access utilized by community members for employment, opposed to a royalty benefit controlled by First Nations government,” says Sproul.

The report also inaccurately refers to the moderate livelihood fishery as a priority access fishery. The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed, rather, that the treaty right is a right to “equitable access”; a right to participate in the modern, regulated commercial fishery. “If the Senate Committee is serious about understanding this issue, we strongly encourage them to attempt sober second thought; that is to say, unbiased thought that seeks to understand the Right, the participation level, mechanisms of participation and the value of a single fisheries management authority for sustainability and conservation. Our goal is to have Indigenous and non-indigenous fishing side by side again however, advocating expropriation and chaotic change is not a path to “peace on the water”. The report takes into account the input and perspectives of approximately 18 groups representing Indigenous communities across the Maritimes but just two commercial fisheries associations. The absence of non-indigenous experts who live and work in these communities is evident because it’s clear this Senate Committee does not have the appropriate information to have made practical balanced recommendations on this issue.”

About the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance

The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance (UFCA) represents thousands of independent, multi-species commercial fishermen and women, fishery associations and associated businesses from across Atlantic Canada. The UFCA was formed to bring together many participants in the Atlantic fishery to speak with one balanced, coordinated and moderate voice.

For more information, visit www.ufca.ca

-30-

Media Contact:
Colin Sproul, President
Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance
ufcacontact@gmail.com


February 28, 2019


First Nations, Métis, Inuit

Firing of Jody Wilson-Raybould over SNC-Lavalin

Firing Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould for refusing to grant SNC-Lavalin a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement”. As she stated in her testimony to the Justice Committee: “I was taught to always hold true to your core values, principles and to act with integrity…I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House”.
“The history of Crown-Indigenous relations in this country, includes a history of the rule of law not being respected…And I have seen the negative impacts for freedom, equality and a just society this can have first-hand.” Jody Wilson-Raybould. “For more than150 years Canada has bent laws, disrespected treaties, spent millions taking First Nations to court over resource sharing and tried to bully communities into pipelines.” Tanya Talaga. Toronto Star. March 1, 2019


March 19, 2019


First Nations, Métis, Inuit

Funding for National Council for Reconciliation

Deferring the budget decision to fund the National Council for Reconciliation until AFTER the next election. The Interim Board of Directors appointed in Dec. 2017 submitted their interim report to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs on June 12, 2018. The 2020 fiscal year beginning April 1, 2020 will be almost five years since the TRC Summary Report was issued on June 2, 2015 and almost 2 years since the National Council interim board submitted their report on June 2018 with detailed recommendations on mandate, scope, budget, reporting, governance etc. This will be the third government since the TRC Summary Report was issued: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau (2 x).Make that 3x and no progress as of Dec. 5, 2021)


September 14, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Native Women’s Association of Canada Political Party Report Card

Native Women’s Association of Canada – NWAC commissioned Nanos Research to compare the parties’ platforms with the 11 policy issues NWAC determined to be of primary importance. Those policy issues include:

  • human rights
  • self-determination
  • reconciliation
  • environment
  • clean water
  • housing
  • child welfare
  • justice and policing
  • employment and
  • economic development, and
  • health care.

The result is a 79-page document called SCORECARD: Where do the federal parties stand on Indigenous women’s issues:

  • First: NDP – A (52 points)
  • Second: Liberal – B (45 points)
  • Third: Green – B (41 points)
  • Fourth: Conservatives – D (26 points)
  • Fifth: Bloc Québecois – D (19 points)

https://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/NWAC_SCORECARD.pdf


September 14, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Native Women’s Association of Canada Political Party Report Card

NDP

Liberal Green Conservative Bloc Québecois

A

B

B

D

D

Rights of Indigenous Women & MMIWG2S

4

5 5 2

1

Self Determination & Decision-Making

5

5 5 4

5

Reconciliation & residential Schools

5

3 4 3

3

Environment & Climate Change

5

4 4 1

1

Clean Drinking Water & Public Services

5

5 3 3

2

Housing

4

5 4 2

1

Child Welfare

5

4 4 1

1

Justice and Policing

5

2 4 2

1

Employment and Econ. Dev.

4

3 1 4

2

Education

5

4 3 1

1

Health Care

5

5 4 3

1

TOTAL SCORE

52

45 41 26

19


August 14, 2019


Inuit

Qikiqtani Truth Commission

Government of Canada – The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations delivered an official apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to the Qikiqtani Inuit for the Government’s actions in the Qikiqtani region between 1950 and 1975. To move forward, Minister Bennett announced that Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) have established a Memorandum of Understanding to work in partnership to build a long-term and sustainable response to the Qikiqtani Truth Commission’s findings. This includes identified funding to implement programming for Qikiqtani Inuit to promote Inuit culture, healing and well-being for current and future generations.


January 31, 2019


Inuit

Qikiqtani Truth Commission

Qikiqtani Inuit Association – QIA releases “Action on the Qikiqtani Truth Commission” report which sets out a plan for a formal acknowledgement, apology and action on the recommendations outlined in the Qikiqtani Truth Commission. Specifically, QIA is seeking a three-fold commitment from Canada, to be negotiated and concluded as soon as possible.
• A formal acknowledgement and apology
• A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Saimaqatigiingniq Fund
• Commencement of Inuit history and empowerment programs and initiatives
https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/QIA-QTC-English_FINAL-LobbyingKit-2019-06-13_LOW.pdf
https://www.qtcommission.ca/sites/default/files/public/thematic_reports/thematic_reports_english_final_report.pdf


October 8, 2016


Inuit

Qikiqtani Truth Commission

The intergenerational trauma associated with the slaughter of sled dogs and the forced movement of Inuit from seasonal camps to permanent settlements still lingers in communities across Nunavut’s Baffin region. But the Inuit who endured long periods of poverty and separation from family members say they are ready to forgive. Nearly three years ago, the Qikiqtani Truth Commission published a final report on what Inuit experienced from 1950 to 1975, when Inuit were compelled to leave their seasonal camps and settle in communities when government policies aimed “to make the North more like the South and Inuit more like Southern Canadians. The federal government has been extremely slow in responding to the recommendations. (CBC)


April 1, 2014


Inuit

Qikiqtani Truth Commission

April, 2014 – Failure to implement recommendations or provide progress reports on implementation of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission. The Commission was charged to begin a broader truth and reconciliation process to promote healing for those who suffered historic wrongs, and heal relations between Inuit and governments by providing an opportunity for acknowledgement and forgiveness. Qikiqtani Inuit are seeking saimaqatigiingniq, which means a new relationship “when past opponents get back together, meet in the middle, and are at peace.”


December 4, 2018


First Nations

Rejection of the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework

AFN Special Chiefs Assembly, Resolution # 25 / 2018 “Rejection of the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework and Associated Processes.

The Framework and associated processes undermine the true Nation-to-Nation relationship between First Nations and Canada:

Reasons for rejection:

  1. Openly reject Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as a guiding principle of the relationship between Canada and First Nations. This is made evident by Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples (Ten Principles) document which states that Canada will only attempt to honour FPIC. This amounts to little more than consultation.
  2. Call for the infringement of inherent and unextinguished rights and jurisdictions of First Nations. The Ten Principles document clearly states that infringement of Aboriginal rights will continue unabated in situations where Canadian courts find it “justified” or where it is found to be in the best interest of the nation.
  3. Assert that the Canadian constitutional framework is the only vehicle for the exercise of inherent rights by First Nations.

SOLUTION

  1. Confirm that only First Nations can determine the path to decolonization.
    Reject Canada’s Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples (Ten Principles) as the basis of the relationship going forward. Joint principles of understanding must be developed in partnership with First Nations and be enshrined in a new Royal Proclamation.
  2. Reject the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework (the Framework) and will take all necessary steps to prevent the passing of any legislation related to the Framework created by the federal government. There have been no meaningful changes to the Framework process since it was announced in February 2018, despite widespread criticism and outright rejection from First Nations across the country. Unilaterally developed policy and legislation that sets the parameters of Canada’s relationship with First Nations is in direct contravention of the nation-to-nation relationship and Canada’s obligations under international law.
  3. Call on the Assembly of First Nations to support First Nations in developing their own nation-building processes, including law-making, institution-building, and research of traditional governance systems. It is imperative that First Nations begin developing standards of governance and law-making and begin to assert their inherent rights and unextinguished jurisdictions outside the purview of Canadian legislative control.

https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-Dec-SCA-Resolutions-Package-v3.pdf


June 19, 2021


Inuit

Systemic Discrimination in Nunavut

Toronto Star – Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, MP for Nunavut criticized the federal government for its ongoing failure to address the worst living conditions in the country in the Inuit homeland:
• Highest suicide rates in the world
• Housing cots beyond the reach of Inuit
• Mouldy and overcrowded public housing
• Lack of clean water year-round
• Food insecurity and exorbitant food costs
“The structures of the federal institutions create huge barriers for any MP from Nunavut…the largest single-member electoral district in the world cannot be adequately served with an office budget that is less than some urban ridings in the south, where constituent outreach can happen by subway or streetcar instead of expensive flights.” Her biggest and loudest criticism is levelled at the federal politicians – liberal and conservative – whose rhetoric about “reconciliation” or “transformational change” never comes close to matching the reality of their actions that for the most part merely pay lip service.
“Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the Inuit organization that is officially mandated to represent our interests with the Crown, made a formal request for a $500-million emergency housing investment. Nunavut got a $25-million “down payment” for the territorial government to apply for more funding… Government members have told me over and over that they know action on housing is needed, but in two years they have done almost nothing to address the crisis. The Minister for Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, told me he hadn’t even bothered to read my report.
The frustration has led MP Qaqqaq to call on non-Indigenous Canadians to bombard their elected politicians “with emails, phone calls and meetings” to do something since “federal institutions certainly won’t”.


July 11, 2019


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

The Council of The Federation, bi-annual meetings of the Federal, Provincial and Territory Premiers

Refusal to allow leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, the Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and the Native Woman’s Association of Canada to participate in the main body of meetings with a primary focus on climate change within each jurisdiction. As has been noted by numerous media, Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of climate change, especially in the north.

Multiple articles in UNDRIP explicitly address the rights of Indigenous peoples “to free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them” (Article 19) as well other fundamental rights relating to treaties and land claims, spiritual relationship “to lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources (Article 25)”,and “the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources (Article 29).

Articles 1, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 37, 40, 42, 46

Fully and completely honor the commitment to UNDRIP specifically and “Reconciliation” in general. Develop and implement the logistical framework and protocols to allow the leadership of the designated national Indigenous organizations – AFN, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and Native Women’s Association of Canada) to participate in all agenda items that directly impact Indigenous peoples.
https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf


July 26, 2019


First Nations, Inuit

Toward a Plan – Strengthening Canada’s Position in the Arctic

Failure to take a leadership role in positioning the Canadian arctic for success in a rapidly evolving arctic political landscape. “As the effects of climate change increase access to the Arctic, the global geopolitical context for the region is changing. With enormous untapped opportunities for shipping, research and resource development, many countries are looking to pursue their own national interests in the region, including economic and security interests.

Canada has no guarantee that the interests of these other state actors coincide with its own interests and priorities. Nor can we be certain that existing rules, agreements and international institutions are still up to the task of reconciling and settling competing interests in the Arctic space – in what is effectively Canada’s own backyard.” Toward a Plan – Strengthening Canada’s Position in the Arctic”.

Keynote Vision Address: Bob Mcleod

Premier Bob Mcleod of the Northwest Territories believes our national plan needs to be built on three elements:

  • leveraging the geographic advantage represented by the three territories
  • ramping up Canada’s northern presence, and
  • increasing Canada’s knowledge about the north.

He also thinks it is important that the residents of Canada’s three Northern territories, including its Indigenous residents… have a leading say in determining Canada’s plan for the Arctic. We are the ones who live there. We are the ones who are repeatedly affected when decisions are made for us, rather than with us. We are an obvious partner when discussions about what happens next take place.

Considering that the Canadian Arctic links across the Arctic Ocean to Russia, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the United States, we should be the major player with the ability to decisively set the terms for the Arctic — but only if we make a concerted and deliberate effort to build on the advantages we already have in our three Northern territories.
https://www.gov.nt.ca/en/newsroom/bob-mcleod-toward-plan-strengthening-canadas-position-arctic


July 9, 2019


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada

Upstream – Failure to reduce the level of poverty among Indigenous children. Tracking Indigenous child poverty and non-Indigenous child poverty trends between Census 2006 and Census 2016, it’s clear that these differences have not markedly changed over that 10-year period. “Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada” co-authored by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and published by Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society says First Nations children experience the highest levels of poverty in Canada.

The following straightforward recommendations should be included in the federal government’s poverty reduction plan:

  • Low-income lines, including the Market Basket Measure (MBM) and the after-tax Low Income Measure (LIM-AT), should be applied on reserves and in the territories;
  • Reserves, conditional upon the agreement of First Nations governments, should be included in annual income surveys, as has already begun to occur in the territories;
  • The federal government should commit to a 20% reduction in MBM poverty on reserves between 2015 and 2020 and 50% reduction between 2015 and 2030.16 This is in line with the national goals, but should be evaluated separately for reserves;
  • The federal government should commit to supporting self-determination, both financially and jurisdictionally, with an emphasis on revenue sharing.

https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Upstream_report_final_English_June-24-2019.pdf


December 15, 2020


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

TRC Commissioners comments about pace of Reconciliation

APTN – The three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild, and Dr. Marie Wilson, are issuing a public statement expressing their concern about the slow and uneven pace of implementation of the Calls to Action released by the TRC five years ago today… While they acknowledge important and encouraging initiatives that have been made, they note that the essential foundations for reconciliation have yet to be implemented, despite government commitments, especially the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and the National Council for Reconciliation The three Commissioners have come together for the first time since the release of TRC’s final report because they feel strongly that the sense of urgency, purpose and unity around the Calls to Action must be renewed.

“Five years ago today, we delivered a report, and 94 Calls to Action, that we hoped would change the fabric of Canada forever, and bring forward important changes in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. We’ve seen some promising changes like new curriculum and courses that teach the history of Residential Schools in Canada. However, it is very concerning that the federal government still does not have a tangible plan for how they will work towards implementing the Calls to Action,” said Senator Murray Sinclair.


November 18, 2021


First Nations

Wet’suwet’en Coastal GasLInk protests

Toronto Star – Fifteen people, including Indigenous elders, media and legal observers, had been arrested by the afternoon, according to Jennifer Wickham, a spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs and their supporters. Wickham stressed they had been acting peacefully.

Wickham said armed RCMP officers in tactical gear with canine units and heavy machinery moved into the Gidimt’en blockade at the 44-kilometre mark of the Morice Forest Service Road, using a vehicle and other obstacles to block the road. The blockade had been in place since Sunday after being set up by members of the Gidimt’en clan, one of five in the Wet’suwet’en Nation. They described the blockade as an effort to enforce an “eviction notice” on the company that the nation had first issued last year.

Wickham said Thursday the memorandum of understanding was meant to work toward agreements on Wet’suwet’en rights and titles; it did not include consent to the pipeline. She said pipeline opponents largely stepped back from protests due to the pandemic and to see how the talks progressed.
But they have not gone anywhere, she said.


February 6, 2020


First Nations

Wet’suwet’en Coastal GasLInk protests

Union of BC Indian Chiefs – RCMP began aggressively raiding Wet’suwet’en traditional and unceded territories under the watch of the Provincial and Federal Governments. Chief Don Tom, Vice-President of the UBCIC concluded “Using armed force to take Indigenous peoples off their unceded and traditional territories against their will is not reconciliation, it is colonialism in all of its ugliness and hypocrisy.


January 6, 2020


First Nations

Wet’suwet’en Coastal GasLInk protests

Hereditary Chiefs of all five Wet’suwet’en clans have rejected BC Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church’s decision granting an interlocutory injunction, which criminalizes Anuk ‘nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law), and have issued and enforced an eviction of CGL’s workers from the territory.

“Canada and the B.C. government have both pledged to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but are trying to impose their laws over Wet’suwet’en laws. If this was really about the ‘rule of law’ then governments would be honouring the rights and title of First Nations in their traditional territories, which are recognized by Canada’s own courts. The AFN supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet’suwet’en leaders. Canada and B.C. should do the same. There is no reconciliation in the actions that unfolded yesterday.” AFN National Chief, Perry Bellegarde


January 10, 2019


First Nations

Wet’suwet’en Coastal GasLink protests

What happens when you engage Hereditary Chiefs in the Process vs excluding them?

Union of BC Indian Chiefs – “There are not a lot of similarities between the Broughton and the Unist’ot’en engagement with the Province (as stated by Premier John Horgan). In June, government-to-government work between our three Nations and the Province was confirmed in a letter of understanding (LOU) formalizing ongoing talks regarding salmon aquaculture in the Broughton Archipelago. Importantly, this was a jointly developed consent-based process where our Title and Rights were recognized and as a result, we included our hereditary leadership in decision-making on outcomes.

That’s an extremely important distinction because for us, that’s how we respected Delgamuukw and the wishes of our people. The Province also followed its own decision-making process. There was space in the process to revisit any Tenure decisions that weren’t jointly accepted. I’m confident that we would not have reached a point of RCMP action at Gitimd’en if a jointly designed, consent-based process had been in place.” Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation


October 15, 2020


First Nations

Wet’suwet’en protests against Coastal GasLink

Union of BC Indian Chiefs – Coastal GasLink called in the RCMP to remove a group of Wet’suwet’en women and community members who are holding ceremony at a proposed drill site for Coastal Gaslink’s pipeline. UBCIC stands in solidarity with the Indigenous land defenders who are protecting the Wedzin Kwa, the river that sustains and gives life to their Nation, from test drilling. These land defenders are lawfully exercising their right to steward their unceded territories and strengthen their cultural ties to their lands through the sacred responsibility of prayer, smudging, and ceremony.

The presence of the RCMP and the threat they represent – surveillance, intimidation, arrest, discrimination, and violence – undermines the authority and self-determination of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who have full jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en lands.

Given the forthcoming provincial election and renewed statements from political leaders regarding the importance of reconciliation and advancing Indigenous relations, it is worrisome that systemic violations of fundamental Indigenous and human rights continue to occur over major energy projects such as the CGL pipeline and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX). Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad of additional challenges First Nations are facing, the Province can no longer afford to deem industrial projects like the CGL pipeline and the TMX as essential services and adopt a “business as usual” approach. The health and safety of Indigenous communities must be prioritized.

Indigenous land defenders and community members cannot be criminalized and targeted for asserting their Title and Rights and conducting