OTTAWA-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is delivering a direct message to naysayers in Ottawa, saying her Liberal government is fully committed to legal and policy reforms for indigenous people in Canada.
Wilson-Raybould says the Indian Act, a federally imposed structure, will not disappear overnight, but that reconciliation and reform remain critical to Canada’s economic growth.
She says the Indian Act currently hinders the ability of First Nations to develop economies on reserve land, as well as their ability to engage with industries and businesses off-reserve.
Parliament passed the Indian Act in 1876, giving the federal government enormous power over the control of First Nations people on reserves.
Wilson-Raybould says she is looking to indigenous communities to tell her and the government how they want to govern themselves and who they are.