Topic: Today’s News

J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth named Director, Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement, at the National Film Board of Canada

New position to guide the NFB’s organizational transformation and the implementation of its Indigenous Action Plan

Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced today that J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth (One who gives away and still stands tall) has been appointed as Director, Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement—a newly created NFB position based in Toronto, effective September 20, 2021.

In collaboration with the NFB Indigenous Advisory Committee, J’net will provide leadership and cultural awareness within the NFB to implement organizational change and transformation at all levels of the institution, guiding the NFB and its partners in Indigenous matters. This includes organizing and directing activities related to the NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan, supporting the NFB’s Indigenous activities, collaborating with senior management to identify and remove barriers to employment and career progression for Indigenous people, ensuring that Indigenous employees’ and artists’ cultural and spiritual needs are understood and met, and providing leadership and cultural awareness to non-Indigenous staff and artists.

Along with the NFB’s soon-to-be-named Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, J’net will be part of the NFB’s Executive Committee and report directly to the Commissioner.

This nomination fulfills one of the NFB’s key commitments on diversity, equity and inclusion, and reflects the NFB’s dedication to lasting change and ensuring that it is an egalitarian, open and diverse organization.

About J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth

J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth (One who gives away and still stands tall) is a member of the Ahousaht community within the Nuu-chah-nulth homelands on Vancouver Island. J’net now raises her family as a solo-two-spirit parent in the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat (what is now known as Toronto, Ontario). 

An award-winning arts leader and digital educator committed to raising the positive profile of Indigenous Peoples, J’net previously served as the Indigenous Outreach and Learning Coordinator with the Royal Ontario Museum Learning Department (2014–2021). Prior to that, she was Developer & Manager for Centennial College’s Indigenous Curriculum (2011–2013) and Partnership Facilitator (2010–2011) for the Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts. 

Her honours include a 2020 John Hobday Award in Arts Management from the Canada Council for the Arts as well as the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Woman’s Achievement in Community Leadership Award in 2019.


“For an outspoken Indigenous arts leader like myself, this opportunity represents a turning of the page in authentic Indigenous storytelling in Canadian filmmaking. We are overdue to have these difficult conversations. By introducing this senior-level position, it signals that the NFB is ready and willing to do the work of remembering and acknowledging ongoing Indigenous excellence and innovation. I am honoured to be taking up this important role,” said J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth.

“As Director, Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement, J’net will help us to transform our organization to respond to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the concerns of Indigenous creators. She is a champion for systemic change who is committed to building bridges and fostering dialogue, and I’m excited to begin working with her to help us better meet the needs of Indigen

First Nations public security is gravely compromised: AFNQL Chiefs issue an urgent appeal to Minister Geneviève Guilbault


There is a climate of insecurity and a clear loss of confidence  among First Nation communities currently receiving policing services from the Sureté du Québec. Constant interference in the governance of First Nations policing services by the provincial  Ministère de la Sécurité publique and the loss of policing personnel due to sub par working conditions due to blatant discrimination in the financial and material means made available to First  Nations’ policing services result in severe constraints that compromise the quality of policing  services in First Nations communities; everything is in place for another serious policing crisis due  to these discriminatory practices imposed by the current provincial Police Act.  

These were some of the observations made by AFNQL Chief’s as they met with Chiefs of Police  and Director Generals from a number First Nation governments during an important meeting that  was held on September 15th 2021 in preparation for the AFNQL-Quebec Political Table on Public  Security scheduled for September 23rd , 2021. The provincial Minister of Public Security, Ms.  Geneviève Guilbault, will participate in this Political Table, which will be co-chaired by the Chief  of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard, and by the provincial Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs,  Mr. Ian Lafrenière. 

“All First Nations Peoples, our women, our girls, our children and our elders, all have the fundamental right to live in a safe environment. The AFNQL Chiefs are reiterating their authority  and their responsibility with respect to the security of their populations and demand the immediate  cooperation of the provincial and federal governments to resolve a situation which can no longer be endured. At the September 23rd meeting, AFNQL Chiefs will be expecting Minister Guilbault to make a clear commitment towards working collaboratively with them in resolving these  unacceptable conditions,” said Chief Lance Haymond, public security portfolio-holder for the  AFNQL. 

“First Nations demand that their policing services be treated as essential services. The federal  government has committed to legislation confirming this. AFNQL Chiefs expect Minister  Guilbault to also commit to recognizing the essential nature of our policing services at our  September 23rd meeting. The provincial government must recognize First Nations’ right to self 

determination and as a matter of course, their governments’ jurisdiction over public security. The  current climate of confrontation must give way to effective and respectful collaboration. This is  what populations on both sides expect from their elected officials,” added Ghislain Picard, Chief  of the AFNQL.

About the AFNQL 

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political body that brings together 43  Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.

La sécurité publique des Premières Nations gravement compromise : Les chefs de l’APNQL lancent un appel urgent à la ministre Geneviève Guilbault


Climat d’insécurité et perte de confiance envers les services  policiers dans plusieurs communautés desservies par la Sûreté du Québec, ingérence constante du  ministère provincial de la Sécurité publique dans la gouvernance policière des Premières Nations, perte d’effectifs policiers due à des conditions d’emploi défavorables chez les Premières Nations, discrimination négative flagrante dans les moyens dont disposent les services policiers des  Premières Nations, notamment en ce qui a trait au soutien financier et matériel, contraintes sévères  et compromettant la qualité des services imposées par l’actuelle Loi provinciale sur la police, tout  est en place pour une autre grave crise policière. C’est là le constat des chefs de l’APNQL, réunis  avec des chefs de police et des directeurs généraux de gouvernements locaux de Première Nation.  L’importante rencontre tenue le 15 septembre est en préparation à la Table politique APNQL 

Québec qui se réunira le 23 septembre et qui sera consacrée au dossier crucial de la sécurité  publique. La ministre provinciale de la Sécurité publique, Mme Geneviève Guilbault, participera  à cette Table politique, coprésidée par le chef de l’APNQL, Ghislain Picard, et par le ministre  provincial responsable des Affaires autochtones, M. Ian Lafrenière. 

« La population de toutes les Premières Nations, nos femmes et nos filles, nos enfants, nos ainés  ont le droit fondamental de vivre dans un environnement sécuritaire. Les chefs rappellent leur  autorité et leur responsabilité envers la sécurité de leurs populations et exigent la collaboration  immédiate de la province et du fédéral pour régler une situation qui ne peut durer. La ministre  Guilbault devra s’y engager clairement lors de la rencontre du 23 septembre », déclare le chef  Lance Haymond, porteur du dossier de la sécurité publique à l’APNQL. 

« Les Premières Nations exigent que leurs services policiers soient traités en tant que services  essentiels. Le gouvernement fédéral s’est engagé vers une législation pour le confirmer. Les chefs  de l’APNQL s’attendent de la ministre Guilbault, lors de la rencontre du 23 septembre, qu’elle  s’engage également vers cette reconnaissance du caractère essentiel de nos services policiers. Le  gouvernement provincial doit reconnaître l’autodétermination des Premières Nations et les  compétences de leurs gouvernements, notamment en ce qui a trait à la sécurité publique. L’actuel  climat de confrontation doit faire place à une collaboration efficace et respectueuse. C’est ce que  les populations de part et d’autre attendent de leurs élus », ajoute Ghislain Picard, chef de  l’APNQL.

À propos de l’APNQL 

L’Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-Labrador est l’organisme politique qui regroupe 43  chefs des Premières Nations au Québec et au Labrador.

A national skills agenda for Indigenous youth will lead to a more prosperous and inclusive Canada

John Stackhouse

There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the economic prospects of Indigenous youth. Canada’s fastest growing cohort of youth are being drawn into the broader economy, demonstrated through increased Indigenous ownership of resources and infrastructure, increased presence in key supply chains and new partnerships between private companies and communities. Many Indigenous youth are also confident in their foundational skills essential to succeed in the workplace, such as critical thinking, communication and collaboration. 

However, at a time when advance technologies are transforming every sector, many Indigenous youth say they lack the confidence in their digital literacy skills. Addressing the gap starts with the basics. The reality is, high-speed Internet still hasn’t come to large parts of rural and northern Canada, limiting online activity for many Indigenous Peoples.

These digital desserts limit many Indigenous Peoples from developing key skills required to succeed in the workplace. Take trade skills, which has contributed to improved incomes for many Indigenous Peoples. But on-reserve learners aren’t accessing apprenticeships at the same rate as off-reserve youth, and they often miss out on the in-class portions where emerging skills are introduced.

Narrowing this and other digital skills gaps would enable Indigenous youth to unlock a host of opportunities in the future of work and, in turn, significantly increase their earning potential according to a RBC report. Access to a meaningful career also helps foster a stronger connection to community, and builds greater confidence and optimism for the future. A national skills agenda for Indigenous youth is crucial to building a more prosperous and inclusive Canada.

What would this agenda look like? Through an 18-month consultation with Indigenous youth and leaders, educators, and employers, RBC identified a series of recommendations that might help to prepare Indigenous youth for the digital future. Fulfilling the federal commitment to provide high-speed to every Canadian by 2030, prioritizing underserviced Indigenous communities was a key priority.

Allocating additional funding for digital devices and technology courses in primary and secondary schools, both on- and off-reserve, would also be critical. As would efforts in providing Indigenous youth with more work-integrated learning experiences. These programs offer students access to real workplace experiences, with the opportunity to develop the technological and human skills necessary to succeed as well as the professional networks, which are vital in navigating the working world.

At a time when many Canadians are reflecting on our recent history, and ongoing relationship with Indigenous Peoples, our collective efforts take on a heightened meaning and importance. A national skills agenda will ensure our fastest growing youth population are provided with the skills and opportunities to participate fully in the economy, and in turn, help Canada grow sustainably well into the future.

PRESS RELEASE: Fire Safety Knowledge Can Save Lives

Did you know that the incidents of fire are 10 times higher within Indigenous  communities versus other Canadian communities? 

This statistic comes from the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council Project and highlights the ongoing threat to homes and families. Their website is designed to offer support to Indigenous communities. It has reported that Indigenous peoples across Canada are between 5 and 17 times more likely to die in a fire compared to the rest of the population. Indigenous Peoples are five times more likely to die in a fire. That number increases to over 10 times for First Nations people living on reserves. Inuit are over 17 times more likely to die in a fire than non Indigenous people. Rates among Métis were higher than non-Indigenous estimates (2.1), but these rates were not significantly different. The full report can be found at morbidity-report-2021.

At FireWise we believe that knowledge saves lives. Knowing how to prevent a fire can make the difference between lives saved or lost. At times it can be as simple as knowing that an unattended pot on a stove can readily turn into a kitchen fire. Flammable objects near a baseboard or electric heater or a fireplace can cause pyrolysis which is the decomposition of a combustible object brought on by high temperatures. Further course information

As a Benefit Corporation for Good, FireWise places equal importance on people as it does the planet and profit. For this reason, FireWise offers affordable rates for communities at risk. We recognize some of the challenges of fire safety in Indigenous communities. Through our online training programs, we are able to offer a Building Fire Safety Training Program that is structured in the hopes of reducing fire related incidents. This course has been designed to give community leaders the confidence to know what to look for when assessing building fire safety risk and the skills to teach the community about valuable fire safety and prevention. BCFG program details at

Another excellent resource is Getting to Know Fire produced by British Columbia’s Public Fire and Life Safety Education Curriculum. This publication is a comprehensive fire and life safety education curriculum containing detailed lesson plans, which target audiences ranging from preschool aged children through to seniors. Thecurriculum provides accurate and consistent messages and all support materials necessary to deliver interesting and informative presentations. It is unique in its comprehensiveness and focusses on the needs of front-line fire service personnel delivering fire and life safety education. It is available through the Crown Publications at

Five Reasons to Learn About Fire Safety and Prevention 1. Fire prevention is inexpensive and saves lives and property. 2. Routine fire prevention assessments ensure a high level of building and occupant safety. 3. Building managers learn how fire protection systems are designed to detect and quickly extinguish a fire. 4. Direct involvement of the building manager in fire prevention yields other life safety and maintenance benefits. 5. Regular safety code inspections provide occupants with fire safety education and demonstrates a commitment to safety, building trust in the community.

About FireWise Consulting FireWise Consulting was co-founded by Glen Sanders and Bob Turley who had a desire to share their expertise with the fire community. Their knowledge in the fire service has informed the online fire inspection and investigation training and practicums that today teach communities, building owners, and firefighters on how to assess and address fire. In 2018, retired Fire Chief, Ernie Polsom joined as a director and primarily consults with emergency services, local governments and communities.

FireWise is recognized for its complimentary skill sets informed by over 120-years of combined knowledge. Their wealth of real-world experience is evident in its curriculum, workshops and consulting.

FireWise is a value-driven and Benefit Corporation for Good (BCFG) company committed to delivering quality information over profits to ensure that those in the fire service and their governing authorities receive the knowledge and support needed to help them provide a high level of fire protection in their communities or business. It has been certified by a third party to affirm that it qualifies. In addition to profit, the BCFG includes a positive impact on society, workers, and the environment as its legally defined goals.

We believe in and adhere to business practices that are socially, economically and environmentally sound which result in solutions that are responsible to people and the planet.

We believe in people and approach all issues in a transparent, non-partisan manner that fosters an open and respectful dialogue. We do our best to treat all stakeholders fairly, while recognizing the socio-demographics found within communities i.e., age, gender, ethnicity, education levels, income, etc.

We build individual, community, and regional capacity that supports informed decision-making processes.

We create safer communities by sourcing environmentally safe materials and processes (The use of technology to reduce travel and harmful environmental practices like burning buildings to conduct fire investigation courses.)

We believe and practice the sharing of knowledge the delivers fire prevention and awareness which saves lives, protects people and property, and protects the environment.

We support community organizations that help people like Muscular Dystrophy, Honour House, Honour Ranch and more. We believe in self-care by striving for a proper work-life balance.

We believe in mental wellness and facilitate a confidential and non-judgmental peer forum with fire service leaders that help them to share their journey.

For more information regarding this coaching Glen Sanders, 1.250.812.9830

For more information training Bob Turley, 1.877.322.7911

For more information on consulting services Ernie Polsom, 1.306.580.7104

Coalition of experts sound alarm on Line 5 pipeline’s threats to tribal interests and climate change

Experts stress the most immediate step in addressing the climate crisis is to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure

Lansing, MI — A group of renowned academic experts, climate scientists and tribal leaders submitted written testimony to the Michigan Public Service Commission late yesterday, stressing the grave impacts that the proposed Line 5 oil pipeline tunnel would have on tribal interests and climate change.

As Enbridge Energy’s risky Line 5 oil pipeline continues to operate illegally in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, the Canadian company seeks approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission to build a replacement pipeline encased in a tunnel that would run underneath the lakebed of the Straits. If approved, the tunnel would allow Enbridge to operate the pipeline for decades, perpetuating greenhouse gas emissions and further jeopardizing the lifeway of tribal communities native to the Great Lakes Basin.

The Bay Mills Indian Community of Michigan, a tribal nation with treaty-protected access to the Straits of Mackinac for fishing, hunting, and gathering, submitted the testimony of several academic experts who underscored how numerous species critical to the Upper Peninsula’s larger ecosystem and economy are already struggling to adapt to warming temperatures due to the effects of climate change. Since 1985, the “lakes in the Great Lakes region have warmed more than the global average,” the experts’ testimony states. This warming has forced many species, including the Walleye fish, which support Michigan’s recreational, commercial and subsistence fisheries, to live in warmer environments that inhibit their chances for survival. Experts also highlighted the rapid loss of wild rice in Michigan, a crop revered as an “irreplaceable cultural, spiritual, nutritional, and commercial resource and sacred relative” to Native peoples.

Bay Mills President and Chairwoman Whitney Gravelle also submitted testimony describing the deep cultural and spiritual connection the Tribe has to the waters and land in and around the Straits of Mackinac and Great Lakes.

“It is dangerous to construct a tunnel and route a pipeline through lands and waters that are central to our existence as indigenous people and as a Tribal Nation.” wrote Gravelle. “The project poses a serious threat to our treaty rights, our cultural and religious interests in the Great Lakes, our economy, and the health and welfare of our tribal citizens.”

Expert climate change witnesses also submitted written testimony detailing their concerns about the tunnel project’s detrimental climate impacts. Bay Mills co-sponsored the testimony of economist Elizabeth A. Stanton, Ph.D., who stated that shutting down Line 5 and not building a replacement was a “reasonable and prudent” alternative in light of the pressing need to shift to clean energy sources. Stanton is Director and Senior Economist of the Applied Economics Clinic in Arlington, Massachusetts.

The parties in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s contested case submitted testimony today, with the opportunity to submit rebuttal testimony on December 14, 2021. Cross-examination of witnesses will occur in January 2022, with a decision expected from the Commission later in the year.



At the origin of the tragedy of the Indian residential schools and  their persistent painful consequences a century later, there was the will of the so-called “superior” government and religious authorities to tell Indigenous parents and families that they did not have  the competence to raise their children. Parents were forced to stop passing on their ancestral  customs, languages and way of life to their children. The government and religious authorities in  place took great measures and used all possible strategies to impose their values, or what they  believed to be the “true” values, on the Indigenous children. This happened a hundred years ago.  All agree today in condemning the supremacy of one culture over that of others and the detestability of this colonialist approach. Considering the numerous reports, recommendations and  data available to us to improve the situation of First Nations children and families in Quebec,  including the recent report of the Laurent Commission, the reality should be quite different.  However, such is not the case. 

We are now in 2021. And yet, for approximately the past two years, the provincial government  has been challenging the constitutional validity of a law adopted by the Parliament of Canada,  namely the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (Federal  Act). The AFNQL and the FNQLHSSC are involved in this constitutional reference which will be  heard before the Court of Appeal of Quebec this week, from September 14th to the 16th. The  pleadings of the AFNQL and the FNQLHSSC will for their part be heard by the Court on Thursday,  September 16th.  

The Federal Act establishes national principles regarding services intended for Indigenous children  and families and affirms the jurisdiction of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis to adopt and enforce  their own laws with respect to services for their children and families, a right that the Quebec  government continues to deny. The Legault government insists on imposing its Youth Protection  Act, its regulations, its standards, its vision, its authority … This Quebec law only recognizes the  autonomy of the First Nations within a regime that is limited to the delegation of responsibilities  which does not solve the problem, since it locks the First Nations into the constraints of a protection  approach that is unsuitable for their needs. And yet, a strong will to impose its own culture on  other peoples remains, even in 2021, despite the devastation this approach has caused.

“Quebec chooses to defend what it refers to as its “jurisdiction” to the detriment of the capacity of  the First Nations to manage their own services for their children and families. The impacts of the  Indigenous residential school tragedy persist. Even the Legault government denounces them …  Have the lessons of history been properly understood? We can and must pose this question to the  Legault government if we want to prevent history from repeating itself. We need to be more  concerned with the legacy we will leave behind,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.  

About the AFNQL 

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings  together 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow the AFNQL on Twitter @APNQL.  



À l’origine du drame des pensionnats indiens et de leurs  conséquences toujours présentes et douloureuses un siècle plus tard, il y avait la volonté des  gouvernements dit « supérieurs » et des autorités religieuses de dire aux parents et aux familles  des Premiers Peuples qu’ils n’avaient pas la compétence pour élever leurs enfants. Les parents se  voyaient forcés à cesser de transmettre leurs coutumes ancestrales, leurs langues et leur mode de  vie à leurs enfants. Les autorités gouvernementales et religieuses en place ont pris les grands  moyens et utilisé toutes les stratégies possibles pour imposer leurs valeurs, ou ce qu’ils croyaient  être les « vraies » valeurs, aux enfants des Premier Peuples. C’était il y a cent ans. Tous s’accordent  aujourd’hui pour condamner la suprématie d’une culture sur celle des autres, cette approche  colonialiste détestable. Considérant les nombreux rapports, recommandations et données dont  nous disposons pour améliorer la situation des enfants et familles des Premières Nations au  Québec, y compris le récent raport de la Commission Laurent, la réalité devrait être toute autre.  Or, ce n’est pas le cas. 

Nous sommes en 2021. Pourtant, le gouvernement provincial mène, depuis près de deux ans, une  contestation de la validité constitutionnelle d’une loi adoptée par le Parlement du Canada, soit la  Loi concernant les enfants, les jeunes et les familles des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis (Loi fédérale). L’APNQL et la CSSSPNQL interviennent dans ce renvoi constitutionnel qui sera  entendu devant la Cour d’appel du Québec au cours de cette semaine, du 14 au 16 septembre. La plaidoirie de l’APNQL et de la CSSSPNQL sera pour sa part entendue par la Cour dans la journée  de jeudi 16 septembre.  La Loi fédérale établit des principes nationaux en matière de services aux enfants et aux familles  autochtones et affirme la compétence des Premières Nations, des Inuit et des Métis d’adopter et  d’appliquer leurs propres lois en ce qui a trait aux services à leurs enfants et familles, un droit que  le gouvernement du Québec continue de nier. Le gouvernement Legault s’entête à imposer sa Loi  sur la protection de la jeunesse, ses règlements, ses normes, sa vision, son autorité… Cette loi  québécoise ne reconnait l’autonomie des Premières Nations qu’à l’intérieur d’un régime limité de  délégation de responsabilités qui ne résout pas le problème, puisqu’il enferme les Premières  Nations dans le carcan de l’approche de protection inadaptée à leurs besoins. Pourtant, la ferme  volonté d’imposer sa propre culture à d’autres peuples demeure, même en 2021, et ce, malgré les  ravages que cette façon de faire a pu causer.

« Le Québec choisit la défense de ce qu’il appelle ses « compétences » au détriment de la capacité  des Premières Nations de gérer leurs propres services à leurs enfants et à leur famille. Les impacts  de la tragédie des pensionnats indiens sont toujours bien présents. Le gouvernement Legault lui même les dénonce… Les leçons de l’histoire ont-elles été bien comprises? On peut et on doit poser  cette question au gouvernement Legault si on veut éviter que cette histoire se répète. Il faut se  préoccuper davantage de l’héritage que nous laisserons derrière nous », a déclaré le chef de  l’APNQL, Ghislain Picard. 

À propos de l’APNQL  

L’Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-Labrador est l’organisme régional politique qui  regroupe 43 chefs des Premières Nations au Québec et au Labrador. Suivez l’APNQL sur Twitter  @APNQL.  




Le programme politique de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations  Québec-Labrador (APNQL) : Mettre en œuvre l’autodétermination des Premiers Peuples et  l’égalité entre les nations, conditions essentielles de la réconciliation. 

Le programme politique de l’APNQL n’est pas électoral. Il est permanent. Il est inscrit dans toutes  les prises de position politiques rendues publiques régulièrement par l’APNQL. Il est supporté par  la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones (DNUDPA). Le seul lien  de ce programme avec la présente campagne électorale est d’exiger des partis politiques, autant  fédéraux que provinciaux, qu’ils cessent de lui faire obstacle. Quelle que soit la composition du  prochain parlement canadien, les partis devront favoriser l’autodétermination des Premiers  Peuples et reconnaitre l’égalité entre toutes les nations vivant sur le territoire. Pour sa part, le  gouvernement de la province de Québec doit cesser de s’ingérer et de faire obstacle aux  compétences fédérales à l’égard des Premiers Peuples. 

Qu’il s’agisse de drames liés aux tentatives d’assimilation des Premiers Peuples, en particulier les pensionnats fédéraux, du traitement inacceptable réservé à des femmes et filles des Premiers  Peuples, des conséquences tragiques de la discrimination systémique vécue au quotidien partout  sur le territoire par la population autochtone, de conflits territoriaux jamais résolus, pour toutes ces  mauvaises raisons, l’actualité au Canada se tourne souvent vers les enjeux des Premiers Peuples. 

Les faits sont connus, la population en est alertée, mais les politiciens hésitent. Ils hésitent plus  que jamais au cours de la présente campagne. L’APNQL en est convaincue, l’expérience le  démontre : la solution ne viendra pas d’eux. Il n`y a rien à attendre de ces politiciens frileux. Les  Premiers Peuples ont des droits et ils ont surtout le droit de les exercer. Le programme politique  de l’APNQL l’affirme.  

Le programme politique de l’APNQL comporte un autre élément essentiel à la réconciliation :  l’égalité entre les nations qui habitent le territoire. La présente campagne électorale fédérale s’est  laissé dangereusement dérivée vers le droit d’une « nation » à imposer ses vues, sa supériorité sur  d’autres nations. Soyons clairs : les nations qui partagent le territoire sont égales entre elles.  Aucune n’a le droit d’utiliser les règles du parlementarisme canadien pout brimer les droits des  autres nations, au nom du « nationalisme ». Les grandes nations ne se sont pas construites en  brimant les droits des autres nations. Il ne s’agit plus ici de nationalisme, mais de colonialisme.

Personne ne peut prétendre inscrire ses droits dans la Loi constitutionnelle tout en niant des droits  qui y sont déjà reconnus. C’est ce que fait l’actuel gouvernement provincial du Québec, entre  autres par son projet de loi 96, avec l’approbation tacite des partis politiques fédéraux en  campagne, qui semblent tous privilégier leurs intérêts partisans. C’est inacceptable. Le programme  politique de l’APNQL s’y est constamment objecté et l’a fait clairement savoir à l’actuel  gouvernement provincial qui continue de l’ignorer. 

« Quoi qu’on dise et quoi qu’on fasse à Ottawa et à Québec, les Premières Nations sont libres de  protéger leurs langues, leurs valeurs et leurs pouvoirs », affirme Ghislain Picard, chef de  l’APNQL. 



The political program of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec Labrador (AFNQL): Implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and  equality among nations, both essential conditions for reconciliation. 

The AFNQL’s political program is not electoral in nature. It is permanent. It is included in all  political positions made public on a regular basis by the AFNQL. It is supported by the United  Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The only link this program  has with the current election campaign is to demand that political parties, both federal and  provincial, stop standing in its way. Whatever the composition of the next Canadian parliament,  parties will have to facilitate and support self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and recognize  equality among all nations living on the territory. For its part, the government of Quebec must stop  interfering with and obstructing federal jurisdiction in relation to Indigenous Peoples. 

Whether it is due to the tragedies associated with attempts to assimilate Indigenous peoples, in  particular, the tragic legacy of Indian residential schools, the unacceptable treatment of Indigenous women and girls, the tragic consequences of systemic discrimination experienced on a daily basis across the territory by Indigenous Peoples or, territorial conflicts that are never resolved, Canadian  media turn to Indigenous issues often, for all of these negative reasons. 

The facts are known, the population is aware, yet politicians remain hesitant and more so than  ever, during this campaign. No solutions will come from them; the AFNQL is convinced of this as it has been repeatedly confirmed to us throughout history. We can expect nothing from these  fearful politicians. Indigenous Peoples have rights and above all else, the right to exercise them.  The AFNQL’s political program affirms this.  

The AFNQL’s political program includes another element that is essential to reconciliation:  equality among all nations occupying this territory. The current federal election campaign has taken a dangerous turn where a “nation” is assuming the right to impose its views and superiority  over other nations. Let’s be clear: the nations that share the land are equal to each other. None have  the right to use the rules of Canadian parliamentarism to infringe upon the rights of other nations  in the name of “nationalism”. Great nations were not built by violating the rights of other nations.  It is no longer a matter of nationalism, but of colonialism.

No one can claim to include their rights in the Constitution Act while denying rights that are already included and recognized. This is what the current Quebec provincial government is doing,  among other things, through its Bill 96, with a tacit approval from federal political parties on the  campaign trail, all of which seem to favour their partisan interests. This is unacceptable. The  AFNQL’s political program has constantly objected to this and has made it clear to the current  provincial government, which continues to ignore it. 

“Whatever is said and done in Ottawa and Quebec, First Nations will always be free and capable  of protecting their languages, their values and their powers,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the  AFNQL. 

About the AFNQL 

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political organization that brings  together 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow the AFNQL on Twitter @APNQL.