Ot­tawa com­mit­ted to Mi’kmaw Na­tion

Feds told Hal­i­fax sum­mit they want to get In­dige­nous Peo­ples ‘out from un­der the In­dian Act’

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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.

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