(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today that the changes to the federal cabinet are significant steps toward restoring and revitalizing the nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and the Crown.
“First Nations have a government-to-government, nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown, as reflected in the Treaties and other agreements,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Today’s announcement of a Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and a Minister of Indigenous Services signals a new approach to increasing action across our agenda. First Nations are working to move beyond the Indian Act and re-asserting our jurisdiction and sovereignty over our own lands, title and rights.”
Today, the Prime Minister announced that former Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will now become the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and former Health Minister Jane Philpott will become the Minister of Indigenous Services. During the 2015 federal election, National Chief Bellegarde issued the AFN’s “Closing the Gap” document that set out priorities, including changes to the federal government to ensure consistency with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Changes to the machinery of government have been recommended in many previous studies and reports, including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and have been supported by First Nations.
“First Nations are an order of government in Canada and the government has to be organized to address that reality,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “I look forward to meeting with Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott soon, and to continuing to work with them.”
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information, please contact:
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 222
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-241-6789 ext. 254