Topic: Today’s News

Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, Canada and British Columbia sign Agreement in Principle and move to Final Stage of Treaty Negotiations

Victoria, BC – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations have taken a significant step to move forward together with reconciliation, to begin to address the wrongs of the past and build a new relationship based on recognition of rights, cooperation, respect and partnership.

Today, the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations signed an Agreement in Principle (AIP) for a treaty with the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia.

Chief Robert Joseph of the Ditidaht First Nation; Chief Jeff Jones of the Pacheedaht First Nation; British Columbia Premier John Horgan; John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale — Langley City (TBC), on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; and the Honourable Scott Fraser, British Columbia’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, joined Ditidaht and Pacheedaht community members to celebrate the signing.

The joint AIP lays out the elements that will be included in separate treaty agreements with each of the two First Nations. These elements include ownership and cooperative management of land and resources, self-government and jurisdiction over a range of subject matters, harvesting rights, cultural and heritage protection, economic development opportunities and capital transfer.

Subject to further negotiations, treaty settlements with Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations will include lands from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the West Coast Trail and Nitinaht Lake area and adjacent to the Pacheedaht community. The treaties will also support arrangements to preserve and enhance the West Coast Trail hiking experience and facilitate cooperative management within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Treaties are a foundation for a renewed relationship and a comprehensive way to recognize rights, advance self-determination and create an enduring nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous nations and government.


“It is good to finally reach this watershed moment in our treaty negotiations. It took us a long time to get here; but we are signing our AIP today at least in part due to Ditidaht’s creative approach to resolving seemingly intractable problems. Other Nations, in the face of such problems, have often drawn a line in the sand and let negotiations stall. Some of these solutions, including getting some of our homeland returned from Parks Canada and negotiating the framework for a new approach to natural resource management with Canada and BC off our Treaty Settlement Lands, are very innovative and may even have a positive effect on negotiations elsewhere in BC. These are important examples of our willingness to think through problems. These hard-won solutions should serve to increase our chances to successfully ratify the treaty, instead of being mired in a perpetual polarizing debate disguised as negotiation.”

Chief Robert Joseph
Ditidaht First Nation

‘’Our Nation has been at the negotiation table for many years. The AIP signing is an important milestone for us and with our community’s agreement. We look forward to moving into the Final Agreement stage of negotiations. In order to get us over the ‘finish line,’ we expect parties to continue to be flexible and creative and to think ‘outside the box’. We are very proud to be at this point for our Nation and it is only the beginning as we continue to move in the direction of self-governance. We believe this milestone will provide Pacheedaht members with a better and brighter future, independent of the limitations of the Indian Act. Pacheedaht have sat tirelessly negotiating for what they think is right in terms of treaty for our Nation and we will continue to do so. Pacheedaht envision great opportunities for our people with this signing and we strive for the best for our next generations.”

Chief Jeff Jones
Pacheedaht First Nation

“Our government is proud to work with the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations towards a renewed government-to-government relationship, based on rights, reconciliation and respect. As we recognize the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations for their work to reach today’s milestone, we remain committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and building a better future for everyone in B.C., today and every day.”

The Honourable John Horgan
British Columbia Premier

“Treaties with the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht will allow us to move beyond the legacy of colonialism and move forward as partners to build a brighter future that respects and honours their right to self-determination. The signing of the Ditidaht Pacheedaht Agreement-in-Principle signals that we are committed to renewing the relationship and advancing reconciliation.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This Agreement in Principle is an important step in our journey to forge a renewed relationship between the Government of Canada and the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations. It is an honour to be a part of this milestone moment – one that is close to my heart having served in the role of Superintendent of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. I am confident that this agreement will enrich the lives of Pacheedaht and Ditidaht members, while also enhancing the West Coast Trail hiking experience.
John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City

“As stewards of the land, we are working with Indigenous peoples to protect nature from coast to coast to coast. By working together with the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, we can share their stories and experiences with visitors from across the country and around the world. Managing the park reserve in cooperation with the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht will also advance our shared priority of ecological integrity in our protected spaces.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change 
and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“Meaningful reconciliation demands we understand the truth of our shared history and address the past while creating the foundation for relationships that will last far into the future. Our government is serious about creating real change and developing treaties that support lasting change and support healthy and prosperous First Nations communities, for the benefit of all British Columbians.”

The Honourable Scott Fraser
British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

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

Telefilm Canada supports eight Indigenous feature films

Toronto/ Montréal, June 27, 2019 – Telefilm Canada is investing more than $4 million in feature films by writers, directors and producers from Indigenous communities. Highly diverse in terms of genre, this lineup is also notable for near gender parity, with three projects helmed by women. Also of note, one of the films will be shot in French (a first for the Indigenous production stream), and two of the projects feature a mix of Indigenous languages, as well as English. Three of the films were recently announced under the Talent to Watch Program.

As part of its 2020 objective, Telefilm Canada earmarks $4 million a year, across all its programs, to fund projects by Canadian filmmakers from Indigenous communities nationwide. The projects are assessed by an external all-Indigenous jury.

“Supporting the incredible talent of Canada’s Indigenous communities continues to be an important priority for Telefilm. In this International Year of Indigenous Languages, we are proud to support works in Mi’kmaq and Inuktitut. The selected projects will bring to light new voices and perspectives key to building our cinema of tomorrow,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada.

“The jury was blown away by the strength and diversity of applications to the Indigenous stream,” stated the group of Indigenous peer assessors tasked with reviewing the applications. “From documentary webseries to irreverent comedy, horror, and social drama, the next wave of Indigenous cinema is exploding beyond the boundaries of genre. And with production taking place from Nunavut to BC, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia, in languages as diverse as Inuktitut, Mi’kmaq, English and French, it’s clear that Indigenous cinema is giving life to our stories all across the country.”

About Telefilm Canada

Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent at home and around the world. Telefilm also makes recommendations regarding the certification of audiovisual coproduction treaties to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Launched in 2012, the Talent Fund accepts private donations which principally support emerging talent. Visit and follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Grand Council Treaty #3 launches toolkit to help address drug addiction crisis within Treaty #3 territory

Kenora, ON — The Grand Council Treaty #3 Drug Task Force is excited to announce today’s launch of their Community Toolkit and Mental Health and Addiction Directory which will support the work to address drug addiction within Treaty #3 communities. 

The Grand Council Treaty #3 Drug Strategy was developed after Treaty #3 leadership identified drug addiction as a health crisis within their First Nations and saw the need to develop strategies to address these issues. 

“The legacy of colonization and oppression, loss of culture and language and the resulting intergenerational trauma experienced by many First Nations people and communities has significantly impacted health and wellbeing,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Grand Council Treaty #3. “It’s critical that First Nation communities have access to funding and support to develop, implement, and evaluate our own solutions to address the mental health needs of our own communities.”

The Grand Council Treaty #3 Drug Task Force was established in 2018 and was charged with the implementation of the Drug Strategy which is a three-year plan utilizing a four-pillar approach. The strategy identified 20 key priorities under the following four pillars; Prevention and Enforcement; Early Identification; Intervention and Harm Reduction; Treatment and Aftercare. 

The community toolkit was a key priority of the Task Force and was developed to provide communities with tools to educate and prevent drug addiction, in particular addiction to opioids and methamphetamines or better known as crystal meth.

Grand Council Treaty #3 Grand Chief Kavanaugh Calls out Police after Death of Grassy Narrows Man currently under Investigation by the SIU

Kenora, ON — Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Grand Council Treaty #3 sends condolences to the family and Grassy Narrows First Nation after the tragic death of a Grassy Narrows man after he was arrested and held by the Kenora OPP.

“My condolences to the family and the community of Grassy Narrows.  Though the death is under investigation by the SIU, it is our hope that the OPP officers involved in the arrest aren’t responsible for his death,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh.  “Police are not above the law, nor are they jury and executioner.”

The province’s police watchdog the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a man in Kenora, where he was transported to hospital for treatment, and subsequently passed away.

“This is a very serious matter and we won’t stop talking about it until something substantial is done to address the systemic racism, the barriers and biases that exist within the police services,” said Chief Rudy Turtle of Grassy Narrows First Nation. SIU has been in contact with Chief Rudy Turtle and he is anxiously waiting their preliminary report. 

GCT#3 and Grassy Narrows continue to monitor the situation until the SIU release their findings and answers are uncovered. “All of our  Treaty #3 citizens are important to us,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh.

Bill C-262 Dead on the Order Paper: Partisanship

Wendake, June 25, 2019 – The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) deplores that Bill C-262 died on the order paper. The Bill was intended to ensure that Canadian laws comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Because of the despicable political partisanship that took precedence over the collective interest, the bill could not be passed by the Senate and then receive royal assent, despite a very reasonable delay of more than a year spent in this institution.

“History is repeating itself; our rights are once again being put aside. Some would say we will have to wait on the election to carry on with the fight that stops with the defeat of C-92. Be that as it may, no matter what the outcome of the election may be, we have invested too much already for any government to take us back to square one,” says AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

Bill C-262 was introduced on April 21, 2016 by NDP MP Roméo Saganash. The AFNQL would like to salute his dedication and tireless work in defending the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples.

The vices of partisanship to which our rights are subjected give us the energy to maintain our commitment to do what is right for the respect of the fundamental rights of our peoples.

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.

Raise Your Voice: NFB & imagineNATIVE launch call for Indigenous Voice Artists

Deadline: August 24, 2019

Calling all Hip Hop, Rap, Spoken Word Artists, Poets, Singers, Audio Storytellers, and Podcasters!

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival are partnering for the eighth annual Digital Project Prize. 

This year we’re inviting Indigenous voice artists to apply to create something new, a digital or interactive experiment. Your project can be anything: a new kind of music video, a live performance, or even an application for your phone. 

Whatever you come up with, it will be based on the words and voices of Indigenous artists. You will bring your idea into life with a team of creatives assembled with the NFB and imagineNATIVE.  

The completed project will be exhibited and performed at the imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival in 2020, and distributed online.

Prize Rules
Submissions will be jointly reviewed by imagineNATIVE and the NFB.

Who can apply
Submissions are accepted from across Canada and should be in English.

Aspiring or established Indigenous voice and sound artists (hip hop artists, rappers, singers, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, or lyricists….) You must be a Canadian citizen and Indigenous 

How to apply
Submissions must be sent to before August 24, 2019 

We are available to answer any questions or to provide clarification on the project or the selection process. Please contact Dana Dansereau (Producer) at the NFB ( and c.c. Meagan Byrne ( 

National Indigenous Peoples Day message from President Johannes Lampe

National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for Labrador Inuit to promote and celebrate our cultural heritage and way of life, and to recognize the tremendous contributions made by those who have gone before us in helping us adapt to the ever-increasing changes in today’s modern society.

Labrador Inuit continue to struggle with the impacts of forced resettlement and residential schools, of maintaining our identity and our language. While we cannot change the past, or the negative consequences of historical oppression, we remain steadfast in our determination to control our destiny.

As a vibrant people, we have demonstrated repeatedly our creativity, resourcefulness, strength and determination. These traits define us and allow us to remain connected to each other and to the land and the waters that have sustained us for generations.

While this day is set aside to reflect on the many contributions Canada’s Indigenous peoples have made, and continue to make, to our great country, it is also a time where we, as Labrador Inuit, celebrate our place in history.

I am proud to be a Labrador Inuk, of our past and the accomplishments we have achieved. While we will continue to face many challenges on the road to self-determination, I am confident we are heading in the right direction. The future is in our hands!

Adoption of Bill C-92: A big day for our children

Wendake, June 21, 2019 – It is with great enthusiasm that the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) welcome today’s adoption of An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.

“The passing of Act 92 is a major step in the right direction for relations between our governments and the Government of Canada,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL. “It confirms the competence of our authority over child and family services and brings us closer to fully exercising our right to self-determination. We are ready to rise to the challenge and start transitioning, and we expect nothing less from the provincial government. This is a big day for our children.”

“This is a major step forward for the rights of Indigenous children. Too many of them have suffered by being separated from their families or taken into ʻStateʼ care. We are now convinced that Indigenous families will be better supported and will benefit from quality services that are culturally adapted, namely in terms of prevention,” added Derek Montour, President of the FNQLHSSC Board of Directors.

Several important principles are included in the Act, for example, a much broader definition of a child’s best interests than the one provided in the Youth Protection Act. The Act also provides that a child may not be apprehended solely as a result of his or her socio-economic conditions.

Representatives from both organizations stated that, moving forward, the Government of Canada would be able to count on their full cooperation to ensure a smooth transition and an optimal implementation of the Act. They hope that the provincial government will encourage federal action in order to garner respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples at all levels.

About the AFNQL

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

About the FNQLHSSC

The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission is a non-profit organization that supports the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador in achieving their goals in terms of health, wellness, culture and self-determination.

Terms of reference for proposed methylmercury health oversight committee under review

Following a meeting with other Indigenous leaders and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball in St. John’s on Tuesday, the Nunatsiavut Government has agreed to undertake a review of a draft terms of reference for a proposed Muskrat Falls methylmercury health oversight committee.

All parties discussed recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) on the monitoring, management and mitigation of potential methylmercury impacts of the Muskrat Falls hydro development on the Indigenous and local populations. The IEAC released its recommendations on ways to protect human health in April 2018. One of the key recommendations is that Nalcor Energy undertake targeted removal of soil in the future reservoir area before impoundment.

During the meeting, the Nunatsiavut Government called on the Province to respond to all of the recommendations put forward by the IEAC.

“We have maintained all along that all efforts must be taken to protect the health, rights and way of life of Labrador Inuit who will be impacted by the Muskrat Falls project,” says Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe. “The Province’s refusal to act on the IEAC’s recommendations, particularly with respect to clearing of the reservoir, remains a huge concern, as the impending impoundment is only months away. It will be too late to act once the reservoir is flooded.”

All three Indigenous leaders have been asked to provide feedback on the terms of reference with the goal of reaching consensus on a path forward on ways to mitigate health risks associated with potential methylmercury contamination, notes President Lampe.

“At this point we have agreed to review the terms of reference. We are cautiously optimistic consensus can be reached, but fear it may be too late to carry out any meaningful mitigation measures.”