OTTAWA – Chiefs representing various Treaty Nations attended the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Assembly in Ottawa, December 4-6, 2018, stand united in opposing the federal government’s proposed Indigenous Rights and Recognition Framework (Framework) and all its processes. The Framework aims to domesticate First Nations international right of self-determination and Treaties through a one size fits all approach as Canada works to disengage itself from Treaty obligations as set out in the British North America Act, 1867 by unilaterally defining our rights through Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution. Chiefs were in Ottawa to demand the AFN change course before it is too late. Their advocacy efforts were successful in getting a resolution passed calling for the Rejection of the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework and Associated Processes.
Guiding their urgent action to stop the Framework was reading Minister of the Crown, Carolyn Bennet’s statements from November 14, 2018, where she said, “Our government is committed to advancing the framework and to continue actively engaging with partners on its contents,” said Bennett’s office in an emailed statement. “The framework will not be imposed on anyone except the federal government.”
“Treaties include two parties, and you cannot impose changes on one party without affecting the other”, stated Black River First Nation Chief Sheldon Kent from Treaty No. 5. It is clear that the Federal Government is determined to move forward with its agendas no matter how they infringe on Rights of Treaty Nations; and, all Canadians should be concerned about how this government is choosing to move ahead with its plan despite widespread and clear opposition, and to set aside requirements under Free and Prior Informed Consent.
Our young people led demonstrations across the country to take a stand against Canada’s aggressive agenda to domesticate our Treaties and Nations. The Chiefs support and stand in solidarity with our future generations who opposed Canada’s agenda.
“We will not stand by and allow Canada to turn us into a fourth level of government when we are the Original Governments” states Onion Lake Cree Nation Okimaw, Henry Lewis. “We retain title to our lands for ‘as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and waters flow’, in accordance with the original spirit and true intent of our sacred Treaties, while our title to our lands continues to be recognized by the Royal Proclamation of 1763″. If this Framework proceeds it will be the final implementation of the “Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy,” also known as the “1969 White Paper.”
Leading the opposition to have the AFN cease and desist from further compromising our rights and Treaties upon their ancestral lands, are Chiefs representing Treaty 5, 6, 7, and 11. The National Chief has no mandate to manufacture consent. He has no authority to sign MOU’s that will jeopardize the rights of the future generations. Our Nations who entered into international Treaties with the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland will speak for ourselves. Treaty Nations are still waiting for Canada to show us the Bill of Sale for our lands and resources – Canada is living within a legal fantasy land if they think that they own our lands and resources.
SOURCE Ermineskin Cree Nation