Posted by Joanna Smith, Ottawa Bureau
The Assembly of First Nations have put out a release outlining, in more detail, the eight demands that are on the table during the meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others on Friday afternoon. They were summarized in the Star's story on the meeting today, based on what National Chief Shawn Atleo, Saskatchewan Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde and B.C. Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould said at their news conference on Thursday, but there is some more detail (or at least more words) here.
These eight "elements of consensus" came out of discussions with First Nations leaders in Ottawa this week.
- Commitment to an immediate high level working process with Treaty Nation leadership for establishing frameworks with necessary mandates for the implementation and enforcement of Treaties on a Treaty by Treaty basis, between the Treaty parties Nation-to-Nation.
- Facilitating fair, expeditious resolution of land claims through reforming the comprehensive claims policy based on recognition and affirmation of inherent rights rather than extinguishment
- Resource Equity, Benefit and Revenue Sharing – building on treaty implementation and enforcement and comprehensive claims resolution there must be a framework that addresses shared governance of resource development and the fair sharing of all forms of revenues and benefits generated from resource development.
- All legislation must be unquestionably consistent with s.35 of the Canadian Constitution and the UNDRIP. Legislation and provisions of legislation as in C-38 and C-45 that contravene our Treaty and inherent rights must be reconsidered and implementation of these provisions be put to a halt. We must have an environmental regulatory regime in this country that respects our rights. Legislation that tinkers around the edges of the Indian Act must stop and be replaced with support for First Nation government and nation re-building including a mechanism for our Nations to push away from the Indian Act as they determine. To fulfill the original relationship, Canada must put in place an ongoing process that all new bills and policies of the federal government must be in full compliance with section 35 and consistent with international human rights standards.
- Fundamentally transformed fiscal relationship guaranteeing fairness and sustainability and removing all arbitrary caps and burdens on the current inefficient, ineffective and unfair funding relationship for First Nation programs and services.
- Immediate Commitment to the establishment of a National Public Commission of Inquiry on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, including special focus on murdered and missing Indigenous women, and the broader factors that lead to increased vulnerability among Indigenous peoples.
- Guarantee, as in Shannen’s dream, of First Nation schools in every First Nation that each and every First Nations parent and child can be proud of, that fully reflects our languages and cultures and provides a safe and supportive place to learn.
- In order to be effective, progress on these areas will require fundamental change in the machinery of government including direct political oversight, a dedicated Cabinet Committee with a secretariat within the Privy Council Office with specific responsibility for the First Nation-Crown relationship to oversee implementation.