Feds, Indigenous leaders commit to six month time frame for modern treaty policy development

By Marc Lalonde

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Indigenous leaders lauded a new federal policy for the negotiation and declaration of modern treaties between First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities and Canada’s federal government in a Tuesday press conference in Ottawa.

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc Miller joined leaders of the Lands Claims Agreements Coalition (LCAC) to announce, after two decades of First Nations pushing for such a deal, that the two sides have agreed to work together to implement a policy that would allow First Nations more self-determination, one of the coalition’s leaders said.

“This year, the Lands Claims Agreements Coalition (LCAC) celebrates 20 years of Canada’s some 20+ Inuit and First Nations modern treaty nations working together to have the Government of Canada adopt a modern treaty implementation policy,” said Nisg?a’a Nation president Eva Clayton. “The coalition has been persistent and steadfast in making this policy come to fruition with the government of Canada, and we are optimistic it will serve its intended purpose of significantly improving how Canada upholds the spirit and intent in implementing each of our unique and diverse modern treaties across Canada.”

Miller said the two sides have agreed to a six-month period in which they will hammer out the details of the policy and how it will be enacted going forward.

“These elements are at the core of the changes we’re introducing through Canada’s new collaborative modern treaty implementation policy,” Miller said. “It is a new way of working together, and was co-developed with the land claims agreement, coalition, and modern treaty partners, as well as within one Crown Partnership committee, and I want to thank everyone and take a moment to recognize them for the ongoing partnership efforts to determination and forcefulness that got this across the finish line on this really, really important matter.”

Miller said that nearly 25 communities in Canada have been looking to officially cement their relationship with the government, but that there hasn’t been a mechanism in place to do that. Now, there will be, he said.

“There are about two dozen communities across the country that have taken a leap of faith with Canada and wanted to embody their relationship, and what we call generally modern treaties, whether it’s embodying that relationship in in the way that we want to see it go forward, or to get out from under the Indian Act, in some cases,” he said. “It is one that weighs heavily, I think, on this country, and we call these generally we put them together and call them modern treaties they all have different iterations. They all are a reflection of a policy at the time, which may not have been perfect, and still probably is not perfect. But what we haven’t done is work together with communities.”

 Marc Lalonde is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded.


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