Ottawa committed to Mi’kmaw Nation
Feds told Halifax summit they want to get Indigenous Peoples ‘out from under the Indian Act’
A key federal official says Ottawa is committed to advancing the Mi’kmaw Nation and getting Indigenous Peoples “out from under the Indian Act.”
Marc Miller, the parliamentary secretary to the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister, told a First Nations self-governance summit in Halifax that the paternalistic constraints of the Indian Act lead directly to dependency, isolation and indignities.
He said those mistakes must not be repeated as the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said an overriding goal for First Nations is to exercise the right to self-determination.
federal government works with Indigenous Peoples on treaty implementation, recognition of inherent rights and nation building.
Miller said he recognizes there is no pan-Indigenous approach to reconciliation, and Ottawa will listen to the priorities of Indigenous Peoples in the Atlantic region and support the advancement of the Mi’kmaw Nation.
First Nations leaders from across Canada gathered at the Halifax Convention Centre for a regional summit on selfgovernance, with a focus on finding a pathway to nationhood for Indigenous Peoples in the Atlantic region known as Mi’kma’ki.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a national engagement process with Indigenous Peoples earlier this year, proposing a new legislative framework designed to pave the way toward stronger rights and greater control over their own destiny.
“We need to both recognize and implement Indigenous rights,” Trudeau said last February.
Miller said Ottawa has held over 100 engagement sessions with more than 1,700 Indigenous rights-holders.
“Your insights are essential if we truly want to reset the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous Peoples,” he said.
He acknowledged that the Assembly of First Nations has shared concerns about the timeline and the engagement activities, and said the federal government will work on addressing those concerns.
The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations said he’s ready to press the Trudeau government to take more action on reconciliation before next year’s election.