Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation: Current Problems

First Nations


December 11, 2021


BC, Fed. Govt.

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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!


April 20, 2018


QC

AFN-QL Opposition to Bill 99

Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador – In response to the decision of the Quebec Superior Court to uphold the Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State (Bill 99), the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) totally rejects the very foundations of the Quebec provincial government’s claims contained in Bill 99.

“It is ironic that, 18 years after claiming its right to self-determination in Bill 99, Quebec, which speaks of its ability to take control of its future, has made no progress in recognizing First Nations Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Demanding for yourself what you deny to others is absurd,” says Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL, who is not surprised that Indigenous issues are not considered.…Whatever they say, whatever they do, the cultures, values and philosophies of our peoples were and are fundamentally different from anything that characterizes Quebec’s dominant society.

Let us be clear and say it like it is: I am not Canadian, I am not a Quebecer, I am Innu. AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard on October 25, 2006.


June 15, 2021


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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.”


July 6, 2018


ON

Cancellation of Indigenous curriculum content

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has cancelled a project to update provincial curriculum documents with Indigenous content. including those on TRC curriculum revisions and Indigenous languages in kindergarten. Ontario is the only province to renege on its commitment. See Education C2A # 62i. Doug Ford continues to undo the work of his predecessor, Kathleen Wynne, who initiated a number of positive reforms to advance Reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Indigenous stakeholder groups in Ontario have raised objections to this unilateral and unjustified dismantling of Reconciliation efforts especially given the positive momentum generated in other provinces and territories.


November 15, 2018


ON

Closing Child and Youth Advocate Office

Letter from the Provincial Advocate for Children. Mar. 13, 2019
Progressive Conservative government announced as part of its Fall Economic Outlook that they would be repealing the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007, and transferring investigation authority into child welfare services, residential care (including youth justice) and children’s secure treatment to the Ombudsman’s Office.

30% of child welfare caseload in Ontario is Indigenous despite comprising only 4.1% of the population. Many of the provisions in the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, 2007, will not be carried over to the Ombudsman’s Office.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • broadening the Ombudsman’s investigation mandate to include all children and youth currently served within our mandate;
  • the power to investigate or be notified of incidents of serious occurrences, such as when a young person dies or suffers serious bodily harm; and
  • the responsibility to provide rights education to children and youth seeking or receiving services.

June 30, 2022


QC

Cree Nation Government expresses its disappointment in Quebec’s lack of meaningful collaboration regarding the moose population situation in Zone 17

Nemaska, Eeyou Istchee (June 30, 2022) – The Cree Nation Government wishes to provide the following statement in response to the situation of the decline in moose population in Zone 17 and the discussions on the potential allocation of a portion of the Cree harvest of moose to Jamesian resident of the territory.

The Cree Nation Government would like to express its disappointment in the process and the lack of collaboration and communication that has been demonstrated by the Ministry of Wildlife, Forest and Parks and MNA for Ungava Denis Lamothe with respect to potential solutions to maintain a sports hunt for residents of the territory.

While the Cree Nation Government was in a process to find solutions to maintain a limited sport hunt for residents of the territory while respecting the decisions of each respective communities, the Cree were unfortunately informed, via a public notice on social media by MNA for Ungava Denis Lamothe, that such solutions would not be considered by the Ministry of Wildlife, Forest and Parks.

The recent announcement of the MNA has been issued without any Cree involvement and disregarded efforts currently in progress by the Cree. The announcement also referred to decisions by our Cree communities regarding the allocation to the sports hunt. Any announcement of a Cree harvest allocation to the sports hunt should have been provided by the Cree Nation Government. Furthermore, this announcement fails to respect due process while such decision by Québec should have been brought to the Cree Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee (HFTCC).

It is important to clarify that intensive efforts have been invested by the Cree Nation Government, concerned communities and tallymen, to propose solutions and approaches that would meet the expectations of all impacted by the decline of the moose population in Zone 17, including the Jamesian residents of the territory.

Given the current population, the HFTCC has established a limit of harvest of 104 moose and allocated this entre harvest to the Cree as foreseen in the JBNQA which states under sub-paragraph 24.6.3 d) that if game populations do not permit levels of harvesting equal to the guaranteed level established pursuant to paragraph 24.6.2, the Native people shall be allocated the entire harvest and may allocate a portion of this kill to non-Natives through recognized outfitting facilities. Pursuant to this, and given the sensitivity of the issue, the Cree have undertaken extensive consultations throughout the last 5 months with the impacted communities and tallymen to assess the feasibility of sharing a portion this allocation to the Jamesian residents of the territory.

The communities have expressed many concerns on the decline of the moose population including increased pressure from development, forestry and mining activities, increased uncontrolled access, lack of monitoring of wildlife population, as well as the lack of surveillance in the territory. Most importantly, the impacted communities and tallymen have outlined the importance of prioritizing the conservation of the moose population and its habitat first and foremost as well as the preservation of their traditional activities and subsistence needs as outlined in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA).

Our tallymen have been patient and have continued to show openness despite the numerous impacts that they are subject to. The allocation of moose would have required great sacrifice by our tallymen and people to further reduce our harvest to accommodate the needs of the residents of the territory. Despite this, some of our tallymen and communities were still open to share their portion of the moose harvest in a spirit of sharing, compassion, and harmony between users of the territory.

The decision the Cree Nation of Waswanipi has taken to maintain the closure of the moose sport hunt for 2022, is in respect of concerns brought forth through their tallymen and the desire to focus on the development of a moose conservation plan. In parallel, the community and concerned tallymen of Ouje-Bougoumou has been open to allocate a portion of their harvest to the Jamesian residents of the territory for a special project that would maintain a limited sport hunt for the 2022 season.

The Cree Nation has expressed numerous times their openness by proposing solutions that have unfortunately not been adopted by the Ministry of Wildlife, Forest and Parks. In the meantime, the Cree Nation Government, the concerned communities, and tallymen will continue its work towards developing a moose conservation plan and harvesting guidelines through a Moose Management Committee. This plan will outline measures addressing impacts on the moose population and its habitat.

The Government of Québec must acknowledge its responsibility towards balancing development and conservation of habitat in addition to facilitating and promoting a harmonious co-existence between populations of the territory. The Cree Nation Government remains open to these discussions in the spirit of collaboration essential to positive and beneficial relations for all.


February 3, 2020


Fed. Govt., MB

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.
.


November 7, 2019


Fed. Govt., MB

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


Fed. Govt., MB

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)


June 29, 2018


ON

Eliminating dedicated Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Eliminating a dedicated cabinet position for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and subsuming all responsibilities under one Ministry responsible for energy, northern development ad mines, and Indigenous Affairs June 29, 2018 – The Ipperwash Inquiry into the police killing of protester Dudley George in an Indigenous occupation of a provincial park in 1995 concluded that divided attention was dangerous — that Native Affairs, as it then was, should be its own ministry. (Ottawa Citizen)


February 28, 2019


Fed. Govt.

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


Fed. Govt.

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)


April 1, 2022


Government of Québec reneges on Indigenous commitments

CISION: Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador

  • refusal to include the notion of cultural safety in its Health and Social Services Act
  • refusal to establish a new Protector of Indigenous students position
  • refusal to establish an Assistant Commissioner and team to address issue impacting Indigenous children

Le Devoir recently published an article announcing that the Government of Quebec would not be honoring its commitment to include the notion of cultural safety in its Health and Social Services Act, thus feeding the insecurities experienced by First Nations within this system.

Far from being a true understanding of the realities faced by First Nations people who experience racism and discrimination in public services, this earlier commitment by the CAQ was made in response to the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan and the subsequent complaints of other Indigenous patients at the Joliette hospital. This was also one of the recommendations of the Viens commission report (C.E.R.P.).

This legislative measure was but a very small weapon to fight such a great scourge as racism in the health and social services system and now, Quebec is backtracking and refusing to implement this timid measure. Asked by Le Devoir about this change of heart, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, said that despite this setback, his government was still “discussing the idea”.

“Fighting systemic racism against First Nations will take more than words. The CAQ government prefers to isolate itself in its denial of the very existence of systemic racism that threatens the well-being and safety of First Nations people, even though its existence has been denounced in every forum, by the public and by the commissions of inquiry as well as by the opposition parties. Only the CAQ government does not see systemic racism in its public services,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

In the same article published by Le Devoir, we learn that the CAQ has also rejected a proposal to establish a new Protector of Indigenous students position, an idea consistent with recommendations of the Viens Commission. The minister’s argument in support of this decision is that there will be one protector for all students. This reasoning is problematic because the inequalities that exist between Indigenous students and their non-Indigenous counterparts will require adapted measures to eliminate the gap in educational achievement that exists between these populations. Also of note is Minister Carman’s exclusion of the recommendation to establish an Assistant Commissioner position and a team dedicated exclusively to issues impacting Indigenous children with the Commissioner of well-being and the rights of children, proposed in the framework of the Commission Laurent. By insisting on a one size fits all approach, the government is in fact reinforcing the inequities that First Nations students continue to experience within the education system.

Refusal to include cultural safety in legislation, refusal to take specific measures to support First Nations in their pursuit of academic achievement, refusal to recognize systemic racism, etc. The AFNQL Chiefs are saying that the government’s systematic denial of the unique realities experienced by First Nations has gone on for far too long. Faced with a provincial government that prides itself on being proactive and seeking concrete solutions, it is easy to see why First Nations are just not buying the good faith rhetoric being peddled by this government.


October 24, 2021


QC

Montreal Canadiens Land Acknowlegement

Toronto Star – The Montreal Canadians Land Acknowledgement preceding a hockey game “that’s launched hysterical editorials, hours of inane talk radio chatter and the interference of Quebec’s populist right wing government. What’s so offensive? That the Canadiens are insinuating Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) is unceded Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory.”

According to the nationalist school of Quebec history, when Champlain explored the area in 1603, no trace of the community Cartier described – in 1535 – was found. The island was claimed to be uninhabited—Terra Nullius—and thus free for the taking. Similarly, when de Maisonneuve founded Ville Marie in 1642, no trace of Hochelaga could be found, and so it was presumed the island was free for the French to colonize.

Apparently, it’s drawing the connection between extant Indigenous communities and unceded territory in the more public realm of a Montreal Canadiens hockey game that is a step too far. Quebec’s non-Indigenous Indigenous Affairs minister, Ian Lafrenière’s overly cautious (and inconsistent) approach to historical accuracy

is laughably lopsided given it is only the Kanien’kehá:ka claim to the land that apparently deserves greater scrutiny and not the ludicrous assertion an island dotted with Indigenous burial sites could be considered a ‘no man’s land’ ripe for the picking.

It isn’t conclusively proven that the people of Hochelaga are the direct ancestors of the Kanien’kehá:ka, but it is a safe bet the Kanien’kehá:ka are more closely related to the Hochelagans than certainly anyone of Euro-Canadian ancestry.

COMMENT

That a seemingly innocuous land acknowledgement could create such a firestorm speaks volumes about how dangerous nationalist sentiments can become. Hochelaga (Montreal) was not the only place where Indigenous people in Québec lived but the concept of terra nullius knows no boundaries not only in Quebec but in every other province and territory where federal and provincial governments refuse to acknowledge the existence of Indigenous laws and legal traditions and methods of governance. After all the concept of terra nullius gives them the justification to ignore treaties and “unceded” territory and enforce a Eurocentric view of ownership that overrides Indigenous views of land and responsibility.

No wonder the AFN-QL warn about the dangers of the Québec’s governments revision of the Ethics and Religious Culture course offered to secondary school students to advance “Québec citizenship” as the primary focus. As AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard points out,” That the rights of the “Quebec nation” in terms of culture, language and heritage are superior to those of other nations who share the territory and that this national supremacy is legitimate… There are other ways to build national pride.”


September 14, 2021


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


September 14, 2021


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


November 14, 2019


ON

Opposition to Bill 132 “Better for people, Smarter for business Act, 2019”

First Nation leaders from across Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) have strongly opposed Bill 132 “Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019”, as it seriously undermines the mining industry obligation to consult with First Nation communities. They have also rejected the disrespectful approach of this government of burying issues fundamental to First Nations in omnibus legislation and creating unreasonable timelines to undermine the right of our communities to adequately respond.”

NAN Chiefs have declared that the area designated by Ontario as the ‘Far North’ is subject to the James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portion of Treaty No. 5, and that development in these lands will not be unilaterally imposed. With respect to Bill 132, NAN looks to Ontario extend the time for consultation and accommodation in respect of the Bill and create a respectful process for engagement. NAN will also request that Ontario end the disrespectful legislative practice of burying issues important to First Nations in omnibus legislation completely unrelated to First Nation matters.


December 4, 2018


Fed. Govt.

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


October 26, 2021


QC

Revisions to Ethics and Religious Culture course

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador – The Legault government is revising the Ethics and Religious Culture course, offered to secondary school students in the province, with the objective of giving its content a more “Quebec citizenship” focus. The project is part of the new nationalist ideology championed by Premier François Legault. The Premier’s initiative raises many concerns, including those of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL).

“What kind of message to young people can be expected by a provincial government that is determined to deny the deep roots of discrimination and racism that make it a systemic scourge? What other message can we expect from a provincial government that is determined not only to deny, but to fight in court the very existence of First Nations’ fundamental rights, including the right to self-determination, to govern themselves according to their rights, customs and traditions?

If we base ourselves on statements and actions that are taken by the Legault government on a daily basis, young Quebecers will be convinced that it is legitimate and fair to have built Quebec’s collective wealth on the backs of First Nations, by depriving them of their right to their territories and resources and that the rights of the “Quebec nation” in terms of culture, language and heritage are superior to those of other nations who share the territory and that this national supremacy is legitimate.

The AFNQL is very concerned that this initiative, with such strong nationalistic content put forward by the Legault government, will be taking us back years whereas, it could have been a step forward towards the Systemic Reconciliation that First Nations are proposing to Quebecers. There are other ways to build national pride,” says AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.


June 9, 2022


The CAQ’s record with Indigenous peoples is historically disappointing

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador: Wendake, QC – As the parliamentary session in Quebec City comes to an end, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) is drawing up a less than rosy assessment of the Legault government’s mandate in terms of its relations with First Nations. From its recent adoption of Bill 96 to its refusal to recognize systemic racism, the CAQ has shown indifference, and even contempt and paternalism towards First Nations, marking a break from previous governments.

“Respect for language and culture, children’s rights, and discrimination, the Legault government has not delivered in any of these areas and has demonstrated not only arrogance, but also a glaring lack of consideration toward the realities of First Nations. Unfortunately, we have witnessed four years of missed appointments,” stated Ghislain Picard, despite having seen many governments come and go after 30 years as Chief of the AFNQL.

A series of setbacks on fundamental rights

  1. Language: the adoption of Bill 96 imposes a historic setback in terms of First Nations’ language rights. In 1977, when Bill 101 was passed, Indigenous communities, whose languages and cultures were already greatly weakened, were exempted from the application of the Charter of the French Language, a principle that has since been recognized and respected by all subsequent governments.
    • Yet, the Legault government has chosen to ignore this principle.
  2. Systemic Racism: In parallel, for the past four years, every minister in the Legault government, like their leader, has stubbornly denied the existence of systemic racism against First Nations in Quebec, despite the evidence and reports that keep accumulating and proving the Legault government wrong. In the wake of the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, Minister Ian Lafrenière made the minimum commitment required by the circumstances: to include the notion of cultural safety in the Act Respecting Health services and Social Services (ARHSSS).
    • This spring, the government reneged on its word by not amending the ARHSSS to that effect.
  3. Youth Protection: The Legault government rejected several of the main recommendations issued by the Viens and Laurent Commissions which among others, included:
    • the recognition and respect of First Nations’ jurisdiction over youth protection and the abolition of time limits for placement in Indigenous communities.
  4. Child Protection: To add insult to injury, before the Supreme Court of Canada, Quebec is now challenging the constitutionality of the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (C-92), which affirms First Nations’ jurisdiction over child and family services. Yet, the reports of the Viens and Laurent Commissions recognized, as a basic principle, our right to self-determination.
    • In addition, in its historic decision rendered on February 10, 2022, the Quebec Court of Appeal, the province’s highest court, recognized that Aboriginal self-government in child and family services is an Aboriginal right guaranteed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  5. United Nations Declaration: Yet, newly elected, François Legault had announced his intention to multiply “nation-to-nation agreements” with Indigenous Peoples. In October 2019, the National Assembly of Quebec even unanimously adopted a motion recognizing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    • COMMENT: Indigenous Watchdog- Legault changed his mind and no longer supports UNDRIP. Québec was one of six provinces objecting to the Bill C-15 in a letter sent to PM Trudeau on Nov. 27, 2020.

“This record is a huge disappointment. The Legault government’s words have never been supported by its actions. Our approach has always been one of good faith and good will. Faced with so many rebuffs, we will make sure that we are heard during the next few months and over the course of the election campaign,” concluded Chief Picard.


July 11, 2019


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


Fed. Govt., NT, NU, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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.


June 30, 2022


BC

Tŝilhqot’in Nation Condemns Destructive B.C. Moose Harvest Allocation

Williams Lake, B.C.: The Tŝilhqot’in Nation is condemning the B.C. government’s destructive moose harvest allocation for the Chilcotin Region in recent days and expressing its opposition, in the strongest terms, to B.C.’s drastic escalation of Limited Entry Hunts (LEH) for moose in Tŝilhqot’in territory.

Tŝilhqot’in people depend on moose for sustenance and cultural survival. For many years, Tŝilhqot’in hunters and members have reported struggling moose populations, and not enough moose to feed our families and communities. Many members have chosen not to hunt moose for the past several years, out of concern for the survival of moose populations.

The Province’s own surveys show the moose population in the Chilcotin at its lowest point on record. Instead of raising the alarm, the Province has now drastically increased the LEH for moose – effectively doubling the number of moose LEH permits issued in the Chilcotin region compared to last year.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation opposes LEH moose hunting in the territory, given the lowest population estimates on record and the devastating impacts on habitat in recent years from unprecedented wildfires, beetle epidemics, wide-scale industrial logging and increased predation and competition with other species.

BC’s decision to increase the LEH in Tŝilhqot’in territory disrespects and disregards the traditional knowledge of Tŝilhqot’in hunters and members, and violates the Aboriginal rights and title of the Tŝilhqot’in peoples, and our international human rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation has a duty and responsibility under Tŝilhqot’in law to prevent the destruction of the moose population in our territory. Tŝilhqot’in leaders are meeting together and with membership to decide next steps in response to B.C.’s decision and the direct threat that it poses to the wellbeing of Tŝilhqot’in families and communities, and the survival of the Tŝilhqot’in way of life.

Quotes:

Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C, Tŝilhqot’in National Government

“We have to take action on this issue. Mismanagement of our wildlife affects us directly. The 2017 wildfires left much of our wildlife stressed from the destruction of their habitat. Our people rely heavily on the moose populations. The province needs to do more – a business as usual approach will not be tolerated. We do not recognize the authority of any government to make the same decisions – without our consent, over our objections – and mismanage our lands and wildlife. We have fought to maintain jurisdiction over our territory, and there is a blatant disregard for that when it comes to the management of wildlife. B.C. needs to start acting to protect and preserve these populations. Our people are not going to sit and watch moose disappear in the territory like we have witnessed with the caribou. Hunters that planned to come to the Chilcotin need to be making other plans – don’t come to the Chilcotin.”

Nits’ilʔin Otis Guichon, Sr., Tŝideldel First Nation, TNG Tribal Vice-Chair

“Our people are living with crisis upon crisis. Our salmon runs have collapsed to record lows and for the first time our people have had to choose not to fish for food in recent years. Our members are not getting the moose they need to feed their families. Our caribou populations are threatened and at risk of extinction in our lifetime. These are decisions that affect whether we can put food on our tables for our elders and our communities. This B.C. government continues to talk about UNDRIP and reconciliation, but they continue to ignore and disrespect us, and make the same decisions – without our consent, over our objections, and mismanage our lands and wildlife to the state that they are in now. Our people will not stand for it. The BC Government should be ashamed of this decision”


November 18, 2021


BC, Fed. Govt.

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


BC, Fed. Govt.

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


BC, Fed. Govt.

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


BC, Fed. Govt.

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


BC, Fed. Govt.

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