(February 14, 2018) – Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis, responded to today’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with skepticism.
He stated, “Today we heard the Prime Minister announce a new framework to fully recognize and implement Indigenous rights in Canadian laws, legislation and policies. There are plenty of existing frameworks and documents built from Indigenous perspectives that have been waiting to be implemented for many years, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I feel an intense skepticism that this time will be different.
“We have to ensure Indigenous voices are heard, concerns are brought forward and most importantly that Indigenous people are at the table co-creating this new framework. If it is developed only by the federal government, we will fail our communities once again with a colonial document that does not serve us. I commit to being involved in these discussions and to act as a conduit for information between federal government and the Indigenous community. We have been given an opportunity and a deadline for our rights to be fully implemented across Canadian institutions and systems. We must be present, stand together in solidarity and respectfully build a framework that will achieve fairness for Indigenous people.
“I urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow in his father’s footsteps, the former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, with the call of a Crown meeting.”
Other First Nation leaders are welcoming and applauding today’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to engage Indigenous peoples to develop a new federal Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework which will lead to legislation for the full and effective implementation of Indigenous rights. But only if the process will lead to real transformative changes.
First Nations Summit in British Columbia stated, “Today’s commitments by the federal government to formally recognize and implement Indigenous Rights and Treaty Rights must ensure a seismic breakthrough for Indigenous-Crown relationships based on the full and effective implementation of Indigenous rights in the Constitution and in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Trudeau Government has committed to a relationship based on collaboration instead of the historical colonial approach based on conflict. This shift must result in Indigenous peoples no longer being forced into the courts to prove their existence as Indigenous peoples and that of the rights which they have inherited from their ancestors, the original peoples of this land. As well, this shift must ensure a significant breakthrough and much needed change in Canada’s approach in negotiating treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements in BC.
“As M.P. Romeo Saganash said in Parliament today, the new framework must be built on the foundation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We have been listening to these broken promises for 150 years, today’s commitments must lead to transformative changes.
“The First Nations Summit political executive looks forward to engaging directly with The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Hon. Jody Wilson Raybould, Minister of Justice over the next few months to build this framework in collaboration and partnership.”