Indigenous Success Stories: First Nations

February 2, 2021

AFN-QL Action Plan on Racism and Discrimination

Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador – AFNQL acknowledges City of Gatineau, which today mandated, by unanimous resolution, its Table de concertation sur le vivre ensemble, to reflect on the actions proposed to municipalities stemming from the AFNQL’s action plan on the fight against racism and discrimination towards First Nations.

“I am very pleased today to take part in this announcement by Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin and the elected officials of the City of Gatineau, who are putting their efforts into fostering closer ties and living together. The fight against racism and discrimination is a challenge for everyone. The commitment of elected municipal officials represents the political will that can only inspire our respective societies. This movement is in keeping with the spirit of the Summit of Municipalities and First Nations initiated more than three years ago,” said AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

“Too often, racism and discrimination are the result of misconceptions, and action is needed to reduce mistrust and improve relationships…this sends a clear signal about the importance of improving relationships and recognizing our ancestral territories,” said Chief Dylan Whiteduck of the Anishinabeg community of Kitigan Zibi.

“The AFNQL also wishes to salute the openness of the Anishinabeg Nation, and in particular the elected officials of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, who confirm their willingness to work in partnership with their neighbors. The AFNQL launched its Action Plan on Racism and Discrimination towards First Nations on September 29, 2020. This plan contains more than 140 proposed actions, of which more than thirty are addressed to municipalities.

July 7, 2020

National Indigenous Justice Summit

Terrace Standard – Indigenous thinkers, community leaders, and grassroots organizations met over two days to call for immediate justice and policing reform. The summit was structured around three sessions:

  • Need for policing reform
  • Indigenous approaches to justice reform
  • Community-based Calls for Reform

The 10 immediate action points reflect shared recommendations that have been compiled from the many studies and reports that have been done. It is presented as a starting point for a discussion.
Indigenous Bar Association: Summit Notice, Agenda and Immediate Action Points:


1. Create a National Indigenous-led Police oversight body funded by Canada,
2. Establish a National Protocol for Police Investigations
3. Redirect “Public Safety” funding to services that increase Community safety
4. Implement a multi-pronged Indigenous de-escalation strategy
5. Establish a National Protocol for Police Engagement with Indigenous Peoples


6.  Amend Canadian and provincial/territorial human rights codes to include “Indigenous identity” as a protected   ground against discrimination


7. Create Indigenous Courts
8. Increase Indigenous Representation across all levels of the Criminal Justice system
9. Require Judges to give written reasons in all Indigenous Sentencing Cases
10. Require Judges give written reasons in all Indigenous Child Apprehension Cases where a child is placed outside of their Indigenous community

May 14, 2020

Treaty 8 victory over AER and Prosper Rigel oilsands project

Edmonton Journal – The Prosper Rigel oilsands project is proposed for a uniquely sensitive part of Fort McKay territory — Moose Lake — situated in the middle of the last relatively undisturbed wilderness vital to maintaining the connection to our ancestral way of life. The Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the Alberta Energy Regulator’s approval of that project, requiring it to be reconsidered with proper attention to protecting the constitutional guarantees of Treaty 8. The court affirmed decisions about land use in our territory must be consistent with the honour of the Crown.

Mere consultation about individual projects is not enough. Governments must address the cumulative impact of development on our rights, and, most importantly, make substantive decisions consistent with its role as an honourable partner in the Treaty relationship with Fort McKay.
Treaty 8 established the terms on which our ancestors would both permit development on our lands and protect our mode of living. Together with the Crown, we must ensure the promises that framed the Treaty relationship remain vibrant and robust, so the treaties operate as the mutually beneficial relationship that the honour of the Crown requires.

The court’s decision provides an opportunity not only for Alberta but for governments and their regulators across the country to renew their relationships with Indigenous treaty partners on honourable terms.

May 14, 2020

Wet’suwet’en MOU with Canada recognizes Aboriginal title

Maclean’s – With a virtual signing ceremony on Thursday, federal and provincial governments are set to formally recognize Indigenous title over traditional land for the first time outside a courtroom. A signed memorandum of understanding with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs will launch a year-long negotiation to decide the terms of their claim to a vast territory in northern British Columbia.
Internal divisions, however, are evident between the elected chiefs and the hereditary chiefs. Elected chiefs overseeing the administration of five of the six First Nations reserves within Wet’suwet’en territory signed agreements with Coastal GasLink. Hereditary leaders representing eight of the nation’s 13 house groups, whose traditional jurisdiction is far vaster, secured community approval for blockades that would hamper its construction. (One hereditary chief supports the pipeline; four seats are vacant.)
The one – year timeframe allows the Wetsu’wet’en Hereditary chiefs to achieve consensus within the population to endorse and ratify the MOU.

May 14, 2020

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation – is celebrating the Supreme Court of Canada’s denial of Taseko Mines Limited’s (TML) application to appeal the rejection of the New Prosperity Mine proposal by the Government of Canada in 2014. New Prosperity Mine threatened a sacred area of profound cultural importance to the Tŝilhqot’in peoples, with a destructive open pit gold and copper mine that did not have the consent of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation.
We look forward to turning our focus and energy to supporting responsible economic projects in appropriate areas of our Territory, as we move towards building a regional economy that respects our culture, our spirituality and our Aboriginal Rights and Title. BC should finally recognize the importance of this area to the Tŝilhqot’in and support the Dasiqox Nexwagwezʔan. The Nation should never have to face the burden of an industrial threat to this sacred area ever again.” Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman, Tŝilhqot’in National Government:

December 3, 2019

Native Women’s Association of Canada invitation to OAS

Native Women’s Association of Canada – At the formal invitation of NWAC, International Dignitary Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) will raise awareness Internationally on the Crisis Impacting Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender-Diverse People. The OAS is establishing an expert panel following the findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
His visit and tour to Indigenous communities also cements NWAC’s goal to develop international collaborative partnerships and seek the support of international human rights defenders to ensure implementation of the Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice. Mr. Almagro’s visit reinforces this importance and will help raise awareness of the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across our country,” says Lorraine Whitman, NWAC President.

August 23, 2019

Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan law

On August 23, 1989, Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government enacted its first modern written law, the Nemiah Declaration, and the law was affirmed by Xeni Gwet’in and the Tŝilhqot’in Nation in 2015. The Nulh Ghah Dechen Ts’edilhtan law comes into force on August 23, 2019 – the 30th anniversary of the Nemiah Declaration. The law applies to hunting and other activities, except trapping, that may affect wildlife and habitat within the Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands. In particular, the law regulates hunting by Tŝilhqot’in and non-Tŝilhqot’in persons. All persons are expected to familiarize themselves with the law, and ensure their compliance with the law while in the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s declared Aboriginal title lands.

April 3, 2019

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC released “Red Women Rising”, a comprehensive report regarding the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The over-representation in statistics on homicides, poverty, homelessness, child apprehensions, police street checks, incarceration, and overdose fatalities is not a coincidence; it is part of an infrastructure of gendered colonial violence. Colonial state practices target women for removal from Indigenous lands, tear children from their families, enforce impoverishment, and manufacture the conditions for dehumanization.
This unprecedented work shares their powerful first-hand realities of violence, residential schools, colonization, land, resource extraction, family trauma, poverty, labour, housing, child welfare, being two-spirit, police, prisons, legal system, opioid crisis, healthcare, and more. “We stand behind this excellent report and the Indigenous leadership it provides on the elimination of gender-based violence on these lands.” – Yellowhead Institute.

May 23, 2018

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)

determinNATION: Moving Beyond the Indian Act Conference will be Indigenous-led and will create a venue for a broad range of voices including Indigenous youth, women, leaders, Elders, legal and scholarly experts, keepers of traditional Indigenous knowledge, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada to create a plan for moving beyond the Indian Act.

The event will cover principles that underlie the Indigenous-government relationship and include a diverse range of delegates, presenters, and other special guests. Working together, participants will contribute to a concrete, actionable solution for overcoming barriers to de-colonize the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Canada.

May 1, 2013

Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl. The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.

June 28, 2005

Sisters in Spirit vigil

Vigils take place across Canada and internationally every October 4 to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Hosted for the first time in 2006 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), 11 vigils were held that year. In 2017 there were an impressive 212 vigils held across Canada and internationally. Family members, Indigenous community members, and concerned citizens gather for a vigil every October 4th to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Vigils take place in communities across Canada as well as internationally. These gatherings serve to raise awareness and to provide support to families who have lost a loved one. (NWAC)

June 17, 2005

Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

Established in 1995 at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot is unique among moot court competitions in the world, in that it is conducted in accordance with Aboriginal customs of peaceful negotiation and consensus-building rather than adversarial competition. The moot attracts teams from law schools across Canada. The 2019 Moot is at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University with representation from 18 Law Schools from across Canada.

Each team represents a different party in a complex negotiation concerning Aboriginal law, and works toward consensus with the help of Aboriginal facilitators and an elder. The format of Kawaskimhon, which is a Cree word meaning “to speak with knowledge,” encourages students to bring their unique personal perspectives to bear on a collective problem affecting Aboriginal peoples and to work toward a mutual consensus.