Topic: Today’s News


This year will mark the 225th anniversary of Jay’s Treaty. Negotiated between the newly independent United States and Great Britain in 1794, the Treaty averted a war between the two countries over such issues as British posts remaining in the United States after American independence and the peace treaty of 1783, and debts unpaid to British creditors. Most importantly, for the indigenous people of North America, Jay’s Treaty provided for their free movement between the artificial legal boundaries established in 1783, as well as the free movement of indigenous trade goods. Since the Treaty was ratified by the United States Senate in 1794, it has allowed indigenous people in Canada to live and work in the United States. Canada, however, does not recognize the application of Jay’s Treaty.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1956 in Francis vs. The Queen tha Jay’s Treaty did not apply in Canada because the Treaty was never affirmed by Canada’s Parliament, even if it was ratified by Great Britain in 1794 when Canada was still a colony. Even with the passage of the Constitution Act of 1982, and specifically, section 35 thereof, which emphasized respect for Treaty rights, the Canadian courts have continued to follow the Francis decision of 1956 on the basis that the Constitution Act referred to domestic treaties rather than international treaties.

The free movement of indigenous people between what was in 1794 His Majesties Territories in America and the United States had been demanded by Great Britain to protect the fur trade with its headquarters in Montreal and its supply route throughout much of North America. The fur trade remained important until 1810 when furs were replaced by silk in the manufacture of fashionable hats. Due to the decline of the fur trade, by 1813, the British colonies in North America had stopped recognizing Jay’s Treaty.

The United States, on the other hand, has continued to recognize Jay’s Treaty and the special immigration rights of indigenous people from Canada. In a 1924 test case, a Six Nations ironworker born in Canada named Paul Diabo was ordered deported from the United States by the immigration authorities. This administrative ruling subsequently was overturned in 1928 by the United States Court of Appeals which relied on Jay’s treaty and confirmed in 1927 lower court decision that held that Diabo could freely enter the United States and work there.

The appeal court decision was codified in 1928 by United States legislation which provided that the Immigration Act of 1924 which restricted immigration into the United States was not to be interpreted to limit the right of Canadian-born Indians to enter the United States. At the time of the 1928 U.S. legislation, indigenous rights in the United States were more advanced than in Canada. The Indian Voting Rights Act of 1924 had confirmed the right of Native Americans to vote, while in Canada, First Nation citizens did not have the right to vote until 1960. Since politics in a democracy is based on voting rights, this may explain why Canada did not affirm Jay’s Treaty immediately after the 1956 Francis decision.

The appeal court decision was codified in 1928 by United States legislation which provided that the Immigration Act of 1924 which restricted immigration into the United States was not to be interpreted to limit the right of Canadian-born Indians to enter the United States. At the time of
the 1928 U.S. legislation, indigenous rights in the United States were more advanced than in Canada. The Indian Voting Rights Act of 1924 had confirmed the right of Native Americans to vote, while in Canada, First Nation citizens did not have the right to vote until 1960. Since politics in a democracy is based on voting rights, this may explain why Canada did not affirm Jay’s Treaty immediately after the 1956 Francis decision.

Nevertheless, Native Americans had free entry into Canada under Canada’s liberal immigration laws until 1927. In that year, Canada severely restricted immigration numbers, as well as imposing literacy and financial requirements on immigrants. Jay’s Treaty was intended by Great Britain, in part, to shield indigenous North Americans from the negative economic effects of the division of North America in 1783. Canada, on the contrary, has used Jay’s Treaty as a sword. During what is known as the Sixties Scoop, Jay’s Treaty facilitated the removal of many indigenous children from their families to live with American families, thereby depriving these children of their culture, language, and family ties.

In not affirming Jay’s Treaty, Canada has failed to secure the intellectual wealth of those Native Americans who would immigrate to Canada if they could easily do so. There are many concerns, such as land claims, pollution, and economic development which jointly concern American and Canadian indigenous peoples. There is strength in unity.

The Federal Government’s support of Bill-262 which, if enacted, would be a statute to ensure that all laws in Canada comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People offers hope that Jay’s Treaty will be affirmed by Canada. Article 37 of this Declaration states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to recognition, observance, and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States”. Since this Declaration is international in scope, it would be difficult to argue that the word “Treaties” in the Declaration would not include Jay’s Treaty.

The process of reconciliation between indigenous and non- indigenous people is dependant on correcting many historic injustices. Canada’s failure to affirm the 225 year old Jay’s Treaty, can easily be corrected by legislation.

AFN Update on First Nations Post-Secondary Education – July 2019 AFN BULLETIN

Update on First Nations Post-Secondary Education

The work and progress in the area of First Nations post-secondary education (PSE) is guided by direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly and the long-standing goal of achieving First Nations control of First Nations Education. First Nations control of First Nations Education means respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. It means First Nations education systems designed by First Nations, under First Nations control and supported by direct transfers from the Federal Government.

Consistent with a number of national resolutions, most recently Assembly of First Nations (AFN) resolution 48/2018, First Nations Post-Secondary Education Policy Proposal, the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE), National Indian Education Council (NIEC) and the AFN submitted a policy proposal to the Cabinet of Canada that recommended a new way forward for First Nations PSE whereby the jurisdiction would remain with the First Nations.

Prior to that submission, Budget 2019 allocated $327 million dollars over five years to First Nations for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. This falls far short of the $1.7 billion required to close the gap in post-secondary education.

On June 18, 2019, the AFN was informed that the First Nations Post-Secondary Policy Proposal was approved by the federal cabinet. While the approval did not increase the investments in Budget 2019, it confirmed support for First Nations-led Treaty-based and/or regional based processes to develop models that will best support First Nations PSE. Alongside the approval of Treaty and/or regional based PSE models, Budget 2019 provided $7.5 Million over three years to support First Nations in exploratory discussions, engagement, partnership tables and model design with their members. First Nations will begin to transition from current restrictions in PSE to more holistic approaches that support the unique needs of every Nation.

First Nations can now begin the important and essential work of designing their own approaches to PSE.

In addition to significant changes in First Nations PSE models, further amendments to programs and policies include:

  • Residency Clause: Eligible recipients for PSE funding were previously subject to restrictions that included mandatory Canadian residency. New changes amend and broaden eligible recipients to Band Councils, organizations designated by Band Councils, and self-governing First Nations in the Yukon.
  • Post-Secondary Partnerships Program: Eligible recipients previously included mainstream institutions that were receiving First Nations funding. New changes amend eligible recipients exclusively to include Band Councils, organizations designated by Band Councils, community based regional bodies and the First Nations University of Canada.
  • Eligible Expenditures: The previous conditions contained overly prescriptive language around eligible expenditures in all First Nations PSE programs. New changes amend the prescriptive language and broaden expenditures to allow more flexibility for what each First Nation considers an appropriate expenditure.

While the AFN continues to advocate for Post-Secondary Education to be funded as a Treaty and inherent right, based on the needs of all First Nations post-secondary students, amendments to policies and programs that support First Nations Control of First Nations Education are a welcome change.

We will continue to advocate and prioritize First Nations jurisdiction in education that is reflective of our Treaty and inherent rights. If you would like more information please contact the AFN Director of Education, Janice Ciavaglia, at 613-241-6789 ext. 206 or by email at

Health Directive regarding turbidity in drinking water

The Department of Health is responsible for the public water supplies under the Public Health Act and the Public Water Supply Regulations. Turbidity (cloudy water), is a parameter included in the regulations and levels are verified regularly.

New standards for surveillance of Nunavut’s water drinking water systems have shown high turbidity (cloudy water) in many of the territory’s drinking water systems; this is usually a seasonal issue that increases during spring ice break up. The Department of Health is taking precautionary steps by issuing Boil Water Public Health Advisories for communities that do not have technology or treatment available to remove turbidity.

The communities affected are being monitored carefully to ensure the water meets the criteria prior to lifting a Boil Water Advisory. The Departments of Community and Government Services and Health are working jointly to support communities, improve communication and education about turbidity and how best to advise the communities affected.

The Department of Health continues its efforts to ensure Nunavut’s drinking water sources and its treatment meet national best practice.

University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre report calls for a minimum of thirty per cent old-growth protection across B.C.

VICTORIA—A new report prepared by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre (ELC) for Sierra Club BC calls for thirty per cent base level protection of old-growth ecosystems and intact forests across the province as part of the provincial government’s amendments to provincial forestry regulations.

The report entitled Applying Solutions from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements to Vancouver Island, the South Coast, and Beyond recommends implementing the minimum level of protection that is used in the Great Bear Rainforest in all parts of B.C. The Great Bear Rainforest is the only major B.C. region with a land use framework that seeks to maintain ecological integrity as the basis for human well-being.

This is in stark comparison to weak current provincial forestry standards, which have led to an ecological emergency for many old-growth ecosystems across the remainder of the province. The report comes as the B.C. government is inviting input until July 15 to improve the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).

“Increasing protection of old-growth and intact forest to a minimum of thirty per cent in every landscape across the province can be considered one of the most important steps the B.C. government should include in reformed forestry laws in 2020 to address the growing climate and biodiversity crisis,” said Keith Schille, the law student who wrote the ELC report.

“British Columbia’s forestry regulation is in dire need of reform, but we have one major region in the province with a conservation model based on modern science in the Great Bear Rainforest. B.C. should apply some of the learnings from this region in the rest of the province, alongside traditional ecological knowledge from Indigenous peoples,” said Erin Gray, one of the supervising lawyers on the ELC report.

“Many of B.C.’s old-growth forests are close to the brink. Time is running out and we need government leadership action that respects the limits of nature in the interest of future generations. This report describes a first step the province can take to address this emergency,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner.

In addition to the base level protection, further conservation must be determined as part of the process of modernizing regional land use plans with Indigenous Nations on a government-to-government basis. These agreements should incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into all decision making processes.

Solutions that address Indigenous rights and interests are needed for both public and private lands, all of which are on the territories of Indigenous peoples. The B.C. government should partner with the federal government to enable Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and contribute to the international and national commitment to protect seventeen per cent of the land by 2020.

“From T’Sou-ke natural law, only together can we ensure a healthy environment for our children and our children not born yet,” said Chief Gordon Planes Hya-Quatcha of the T’Sou-ke First Nation, a member of the Indigenous Circle of Experts.

Sierra Club BC is calling for improved forest management to protect remaining intact rainforest, endangered ecosystems, Indigenous values and carbon stored in forests, combined with support for the forestry sector to phase out destructive logging practices. This will translate into more jobs and less ecosystem damage per cubic metre of wood.

CAP advocates for children and families at Premiers’ meeting

(Ottawa, ON) – The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is pleased to participate in a meeting with Canada’s Premiers at Big River First Nation in Saskatchewan today. This meeting of the Council of the Federation is an opportunity for National Indigenous Organizations to raise issues pertaining to Indigenous children, youth, and families and their well-being.

It is well known that the well-being of Indigenous peoples is a complex conversation in the context of colonialism. In the past, numerous government policies have sought to harm and separate Indigenous peoples through interventions that directly targeted families and children.

CAP calls on all levels of government to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous peoples and urges them to protect families as the foundation of our communities. “Our peoples living in urban and rural communities across Canada have unique and distinct needs that have not been considered in the new child welfare legislation. I am here today to ensure that the needs of CAP’s constituents are heard. We will not be forgotten” says CAP Chief Robert Bertrand.

We call on all levels of government to accept responsibility for the well-being of Indigenous peoples regardless of their status or location. With the number of Indigenous children in state care being three times higher today than at the height of the Residential School system, and an ever-growing Indigenous population in urban areas, change is urgent.

CAP National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin declares that “It is appalling that here in Saskatchewan, Indigenous youth are more likely to be incarcerated than they are to complete high school. Yesterday was the time to take on these responsibilities. Today is the time to make real change.”

Indigenous children, youth, and families retain inherent rights, and must maintain connections to their communities and culture. CAP is attending this meeting of the Council of the Federation with hopes of strengthening relationships with Premiers and lead to concrete actions towards reconciliation.

First Nations Children Most Impoverished in Canada: Report

(Ottawa, ON) – While premiers and territorial leaders meet in Saskatchewan today to discuss the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families, a new report released today co-authored by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) says First Nations children experience the highest levels of poverty in Canada. 

“Canada is not tracking First Nations poverty on-reserve so we did,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “The findings of this report are shameful and underscore the urgent need to invest in First Nations children, families and communities. Our children face the worst social and economic conditions in the country. They deserve an opportunity to succeed. Canada has not been tracking poverty on-reserve and that’s one reason the situation is not improving. We need a combination of political will, action, cooperation among governments and sustainable investments in water, infrastructure, housing and education to help First Nations children succeed and get a fair start in life. It’s beneficial to all Canadians to close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”

The report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada, available at, was developed in partnership by the AFN, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and published by Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society.  It finds that half of all First Nations children on-reserve live in poverty, with even higher numbers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Children on reserve are four times more likely than non-Indigenous children in Canada to live in poverty and experience some of the worst social and economic conditions, causing negative effects on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The report tracks child poverty rates using the 2006 Census, the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2016 Census.

National Chief Bellegarde is meeting with premiers and territorial leaders today in Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan to instill in leaders the importance of working together with First Nations to urgently address long-standing barriers to closing the gap.  This includes working collaboratively to implement recently passed federal legislation focused on First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare. The meeting, hosted by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, is focused on the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families and takes place in advance of the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon Wednesday.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief to Meet with Premiers and Territorial Leaders on Implementation of New Legislation Supporting First Nations Children and Families

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will attend a meeting tomorrow with Premiers, territorial leaders and Indigenous representatives in Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan.  This meeting is focused on the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families and takes place in advance of the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon on Wednesday.

“I’m attending tomorrow’s roundtable discussion to ensure First Nations are involved in any discussions and decisions regarding our most valued, our children and families,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “This is the first meeting of premiers and territorial leaders since the passing of new federal legislation that’s essential to the well-being of our children. This requires support, cooperation and coordination between all governments and First Nations to ensure respect and safety of our children. No child can be overlooked or left behind. I am seeking a commitment from all provinces and territories for this important work.”

National Chief Bellegarde has consistently called for First Nations and AFN involvement at all federal, provincial and territorial meetings, the Council of the Federation and other inter-governmental forums. 

“First Nations must be at every decision-making table on issues and priorities that impact our people, our nations and territories,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “We are seeing more and more the proof that meaningful inclusion and collaboration with First Nation is constructive and productive and leads to better decisions and better results for our people and all of Canada.  This is the only way to ensure our rights, title and jurisdiction are respected, and that decisions actually have positive impacts on the ground.”

Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families received Royal Assent June 21, 2019.  The legislation focuses on First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare and supports First Nations governments in developing their own systems for First Nations child welfare. It was developed with input from First Nations.

During a meeting with premiers and territorial leaders in July 2016, National Chief Bellegarde received a commitment from all provinces and territories to work with First Nations in their regions on new approaches to First Nations child and family services that emphasizes prevention instead of apprehension.  This included supporting solutions and systems designed and driven by First Nations and an agreement to work with First Nations on new approaches to reduce the number of First Nations children in care and to ensure results are tangible and measurable.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.


Winnipeg, MB June 28, 2019)…On June 24, 2019 in Winnipeg, Maxim Truck & Trailer signed a three-year $150,000 commitment to support Live Different’s Canadian Youth Fund, which exists to instill hope and purpose in youth across Canada. More specifically, the donation will directly support Live Different’s work in Indigenous communities across Canada.

“We are thrilled to partner with Live Different to help bring positive youth development pro=gramming to Indigenous communities across Canada,” says Troy Hamilton, President of Maxim Truck & Trailer. “I have personally seen the impact of Live Different’s work and we are excited to support their programs designed to inspire youth to recognize their value and potential.”

Live Different was established as a Canadian charity in 2000. The Maxim contribution will help Live Different to continue instilling messages of hope and purpose in Indigenous young people all across Canada.

“We are honored to partner with Maxim as it is clear that our values are completely aligned,” says Charles Robert, Executive Director of Live Different. “We each understand the responsibility we have as Canadians to take respectful steps towards reconciliation.  When a company makes this kind of financial investment in the lives of Indigenous youth across Canada, it shows the depth of their heart and conviction to this conversation. We are thrilled to have partners like Maxim who really get behind us and help make our programming possible.”

Live Different is passionate about making a difference in lives through youth empowerment presentations, humanitarian build programs, and leadership development opportunities. Over the past 18 years, they have had the opportunity to speak to over 1.5 million students, to build over 500 homes and schools, and to mentor more than 4,500 students/interns/volunteers.

Maxim has been a long-time supporter of many charities including those funding community organizations, the arts, amateur sports and health. Each year, portions of the company’s profits are designated for charitable giving. Maxim is excited to add the Live Different partnership to their giving.

Maxim Truck & Trailer has 17 branch offices and 600 employees in 11 cities from Vancouver to Montreal. Maxim Truck & Trailer capabilities include the sale, rental, leasing, and complete after-sales service of new and used heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

Grand Chief Polson is not in the mood for celebration

Wendake, July 1, 2019 – The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) calls on all parties involved in the opening of the Indigenous Peoples’ Space (100 Wellington Street) to reach an agreement with the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation so that their recognition protocols are respected on their traditional unceded territory.

Earlier today, Grand Chief Verna Polson of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Council began a hunger strike that will last as long as the rights of the Algonquin Nation are not respected on their territory. Despite the sensitivity of Grand Chief Polson’s action, the AFNQL wishes to express its support for the positions defended by the Grand Chief with the support of the members of her Nation.

“I am concerned that Grand Chief Polson has decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and is going on hunger strike, ironically, in front of the Canadian Parliament, located in the traditional unceded territory of her people. The discourse of the political class, which claims to respect the protocols of recognition of the traditional territory, is only symbolic since, in fact, the decisions affecting the Indigenous Peoples’ Space at 100 Wellington Street totally violate the right of the Algonquin Anishnabeg Nation to act fully on behalf of the Nation. This situation requires and deserves immediate and urgent attention,” denounces the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.

On May 30, the AFNQL sent a letter to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, expressing its unconditional support to the Chiefs of the Algonquin Nation and their position regarding the Indigenous Peoples’ Space. In addition, Chief Picard travelled to Ottawa on June 17 and 23 to support Grand Chief Polson and the entire Algonquin Nation.

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow us on Twitter @APNQL

There’s a pipeline to Reconciliation. We should take it.

Project Reconciliation readies bid for TMX

Project Reconciliation says when the federal government wants to talk about its proposal, it will be ready–as early as next week.

Indigenous-led group readies bid for TMX

Calgary, July 2—An Indigenous-led group that wants to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline says a formal bid could be made as early as this month.

When the federal government re-approved the pipeline’s expansion last month, the prime minister said he was open to as high as 100 per cent Indigenous ownership.

“There’s real momentum towards Indigenous ownership,” said Delbert Wapass, Founder and Executive Chair of Project Reconciliation. “It’s exciting to see support is growing in governments and among Indigenous people. There is a pipeline to reconciliation and we should take it.”

Steve Mason serves as its Managing Director and has been heading financing.

“We’ve been assembling something that will work for all sides and it will be ready as early as next week. When the government wants to talk, we’ll be ready,” he said.

Project Reconciliation’s innovative ownership structure is open to almost 340 First Nations and Métis communities in Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan.