AMC – “Our laws are protected within Canada’s Constitution”

Mathais Columb Cree Nation Chief Arlen Dumas
Grand Chief Arlen Dumas

WINNIPEG – Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Dumas states, “There is widespread acknowledgment across our country that tackling climate change is both necessary and urgent. For the first time ever, climate action and the environment was a top issue in the 2019 Federal election. People from all walks of life are marching on the streets globally, and here at home, to effect change and create a more secure future. First Nations from coast-to-coast have resolved to make climate change an urgent and national priority. First Nations know that nature is giving us signs that human beings are out-of-balance with natural law, and First Nations laws provide clear guidance on climate change.”

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation and all First Nations who live, assert and defend their sovereignty and land rights every day.

Over a period of five days, the RCMP removed peaceful Wet’suwet’en peoples from their homes, healing lodges and ceremonial sites on their traditional territory. During this time, the RCMP denied the media their constitutionally protected right to freedom of the press to report on unconstitutional actions from the BC RCMP. Since these measures were taken, First Nations all over Turtle Island, what is now referred to as Canada, have responded to this assault on Wet’suwet’en sovereignty, land rights and safety, by engaging in peaceful acts of solidarity. They have temporarily halted rail services in some provinces; suspended access to bridges, highways, and ports for short periods of time, and temporarily occupied legislators and Ministers offices to draw attention to the gross violation of human and native land rights.

Grand Chief Dumas went on to state, “Canada is a country made up of many laws and governing systems, from Quebec’s civil law system to Canada’s common law system. There are also different laws in different provinces and territories. So, too are there different laws and governing systems for First Nations that long pre-date Canada. Our traditional laws and governing structures have never been surrendered or extinguished. Today, our laws are protected within Canada’s Constitution, as well as in international treaties to which Canada is bound. It is time that governments stop acting outside the law and follow the rule of law in our territories – all of the laws. I truly want to thank those individuals who are braving the elements in the interest of protecting Mother Earth and showing solidarity with our relatives out west through these forms of protest. This is a true demonstration of collective power” concluded Grand Chief Dumas.

The AMC calls on all governments in Canada to respect and implement First Nation laws and land rights in Canada and work towards the original treaty vision of mutual respect, protection, and prosperity.