First Na­tions have long pro­tected land

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Re: O dys­func­tional Canada, Opin­ion, Feb. 2

I was sur­prised to read this com­bi­na­tion of hy­per­bole, red her­rings and out­right false­hoods. It is un­der­stand­able that Al­ber­tans are con­cerned about their eco­nomic fu­ture, but a piece like this merely stokes di­vi­sion.As a set­tler who sup­ports rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and a re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ship with Indige­nous peo­ples, I was es­pe­cially dis­mayed at the au­thor’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Indige­nous land de­fend­ers as stooges of wealthy U.S. foun­da­tions, which is both in­sult­ing and false. Indige­nous peo­ples are up­hold­ing sa­cred re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and gov­er­nance sys­tems that ex­isted long be­fore Canada, and which have never gone away. First Na­tions rights are en­shrined in in­ter­na­tional frame­works such as the United Na­tions Dec­la­ra­tion on the Rights of Indige­nous Peo­ples, as well as Canada’s Con­sti­tu­tion and treaty prom­ises.Honour­ing these prom­ises and ac­knowl­edg­ing Indige­nous peo­ples’ shared ju­ris­dic­tion on their ter­ri­to­ries will cre­ate a bet­ter Al­berta and a bet­ter Canada for ev­ery­one.An­drew Paul, Cal­gary

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