Background Content

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

AFN – Canada Bilateral Meetings

January 14, 2019

The National Chief opened by speaking about the RCMP action on Wet’suwet’en lands the previous week. He stated that reconciliation requires that First Nations laws must be recognized, respected and upheld, and there must be room in Canada for not only common law and civil law, but recognition of First Nation law and jurisdiction too. First Nations inherent rights, Treaty rights and title were themes that flowed throughout the meeting.

Other commitments:

  • AFN and Canada to work toward a National Action Plan for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). Such an Action Plan would focus on implementation, which is crucial to fulfilling the principles of the UN Declaration.
  • AFN and Canada to initiate new processes to address the problems with Canada’s policies on the Inherent Right to Self- government and Comprehensive Claims, and to reinvigorate processes on Specific Claims and Additions to Reserve. It is important that Canada dismantle or change policies based on the termination of First Nations rights, title and jurisdiction so that they are based on recognition of rights, title and jurisdiction
  • Canada’s commitment to support three pieces of legislation:
    • Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, currently at second reading in the Senate;
    • A new bill on First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare, co-developed with First Nations, to be tabled in parliament within a few weeks; and
    • A new bill on Indigenous languages, co-developed with First Nations and to be tabled in parliament within a few weeks.