The Regional Chief of BC Assembly of First Nations support legislation to recognize First Nations rights.
Chiefs, Elders, and Hereditary leaders had discussions on how Ottawa can change its approach to affirm rights and title that include treaty rights.
It’s a step in the right direction according to Terry Teegee.
“For many decades, our rights haven’t been recognized and we would end up in court many times winning those cases, which really in the court system reaffirmed that we have indigenous rights on the lands of this country called Canada.”
Over 100 BC Chiefs met last month to discuss a potential strategy to seek changes to these issues.
A series of meetings were held this week in the nation’s capital, which includes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) acknowledging Ottawa’s commitment to improving the relationship with First Nation groups.
Teegee adds the Trudeau-led government has done a much better job of improving this area.
“The federal government is committed no longer extinguishing rights for agreements and treaties, which is really important so that First Nations can have those rights reaffirmed and have those discussions on how development occurs within their traditional territory.”
Chiefs have stated they must be part of co-drafting any federal legislation going forward.
“First Nations across this country want to be part of the development of legislation and in particular, legislation that reaffirms and commits the federal government to live up and recognize those rights and I think it’s important that legislation is co-developed rather than a backroom somewhere where there would be much suspicion and distrust – we want to see an open dialogue and development of any legislation that recognizes our rights,” explains Teegee.
This week, AFN Chiefs endorsed and ratified Resolution #1/2018, “Implementing Canada’s Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework and clarifying the role of the AFN.”
The resolution would provide clarity where Canada has to work with First Nations governments and ensure all phases of legislation are up to the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.