The time for talk has passed and it is now time for action – Chief Sayers

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Crown First Nations GatheringOTTAWA – Batchewana First Nation states, “A historic meeting took place today where representatives from Canadian and First Nations Governments met to discuss priorities, dialogue on issues and highlight the importance of the relationship between the Government of Canada and the First Nations of Turtle Island. Chiefs from across the Country wore their traditional regalia, each headdress unique from the next indicative of the diversity amongst the great Nations. While the diverse regalia differentiated the Chiefs and their respective regions, the common messaging of critical issues united the First Nation leaders”.

Their voices were strong, clear and cohesive speaking to issues such as the Indian act, and how the legislation works only as an obstacle that has created and advanced poverty, division and dependency amongst First Nations. Prime Minister Harper agreed that there were shortcomings within the Act, he would not agree to unilateral extinguishment, but suggested working toward establishing new legislation that could slowly be introduced into the act.

National Chief Atleo, stressed “That the Act must be removed, and sited respect and implementation of the Treaties as the foundation to build on, to achieve forward momentum in the spirit of reconciliation”.

Chief Sayers commented, “I believe this meeting is a good example of how Crown-First Nations relations should work, and our council is willing to work with Canada. We expect to see measurable outcomes that address issues at the community level”.

Chief Sayers and fellow BFN Councillors at the gathering were satisfied with the sentiments of the meeting but do not depend on anticipated outcomes. “While the First Nation is open to the reestablishment of a new relationship with their Treaty partners, namely the Governor General of Canada, the First Nation has and continues to assert that they are a sovereign Nation that will exercise Treaty rights, as a responsibility to their people, and their Nation”. As an expression of commitment to this effort, Chief Dean Sayers hand delivered BFN’s letter of assertions to Prime Minister Harper during the lunch break provided to delegates of the meeting. The letter of assertions formally notifies governments, land owners, resources users, developers and the general public of the rights and interests it asserts in its original, traditional and historic territory.

Chief Sayers directed his closing comment at Government officials, “The time for talk has passed and it is now time for action, we as leaders have commitments to our people and patience are wearing thin”.

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