The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is urging the Crown to pass three priority pieces of legislation that have potential to improve the lives of First Nations families across the country. We are providing template letters you can use to focus advocacy efforts on all of Canada’s Senators. These Bills represent a historic opportunity that could be lost if they are not passed before Parliament rises in June 2019.
Please help support a better future for First Nations families, children and all Canadians.
Bill C-262 will move all of us forward and create a more fair and just country. This Bill will harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UN Declaration is a roadmap for reconciliation and closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada. The UN Declaration affirms the Treaty and inherent rights and title of First Nations. It is now over ten years since the Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly and Canada has fully endorsed the Declaration. It is time to make this important commitment to implement the Declaration in full partnership with First Nations.
We lift up NDP Member of Parliament Romeo Saganash for introducing this important Bill.
This Bill is first and foremost about children, their safety, security, their well-being, their future. With over 40,000 First Nations children in care, we can all agree we need action and legislation on First Nations child welfare, and we must get it right. Decades of Provincial/Territorial and Federal legislative and policy failures must finally come to an end. The AFN’s goal is to ensure First Nations design, build and implement systems through their own governance, laws and policies. Legislation must respect First Nation jurisdiction, self-government agreements, modern treaties, and the right to self-determination. Any legislation must reflect the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The time is long overdue for First Nations to finally regain responsibility over their children and family well-being.
First Nations have been pushing for action to save our languages for decades. Our languages are central to our identities, our cultures, our worldviews, our laws, our songs and stories and ceremonies. Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous Languages, marks the first time Canada has upheld Indigenous language rights as existing individual and collective Aboriginal and Treaty rights, as recognized in s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Bill supports First Nations-led approaches to language revitalization. Studies show that people who acquire fluency at a young age are more successful in school and more successful in life. A 2017 poll by Nanos Research showed that 74% of Canadians support an Indigenous Languages Act. 2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. What better way to celebrate than with the passing of a law aimed at revitalizing First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages—a law that we can all be proud of and say that we created together.