Topic: Today’s News

President responds to release of “Reclaiming Power and Place”

The following statement was issued today by Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe upon the release of “Reclaiming Power and Place,” the report on the first National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada:

“First of all I want to acknowledge Labrador Inuit who participated and spoke during the truth gathering process, particularly those who shared personal accounts of their experiences and those of their loved ones and friends. I commend them for their courage and strength and their determination to try and find a way to heal the wounds caused by this national tragedy so that they can finally move on with their lives.

“Thank you to the Commissioners and staff who spent countless hours throughout this process, listening and learning and compiling this report. The Calls for Justice outlined in the report, if implemented, will help in the healing process and ensure future generations of women, girls and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA community will no longer have to live in fear of violence and persecution. It is incumbent on all of society to stand up and say “enough is enough”.

“To members of the National Family Advisory Circle (NFAC) who provided advice and helped guide the Commissioners and staff, your contributions are greatly appreciated. I want to especially thank NFAC member Charlotte Wolfrey, who is currently the AngajukKâk for Rigolet, for helping to lead the way for Labrador Inuit and for sharing her tragic story.

The final report can be found at:

Report on the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Genocide and Human Rights Violations of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Ottawa, June 3, 2019 – In light of the information that was circulated about the final report of the National Inquiry, the AFNQL joins its voice to denounce crimes and physical and sexual violence against First Nations people, and particularly women, girls and people of the 2SLGBTQQIA community. To redress the devastating consequences of colonialism on First Nations, the urgent obligation to act rests first and foremost on the shoulders of the Crown.

Crimes and violence against Indigenous women and girls described in the final report of the National Inquiry are the direct consequences of policies planned and implemented by the Crown throughout history, since the first contacts. The many testimonies on the experiences of family members and survivors of violence are a convincing result. Every crime, every case of violence and every case of sexual or physical abuse against Indigenous women and girls, regardless of where they are in Canada, is unacceptable and one crime too many.

The Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard, emphasizes that “the Crown must honour its constitutional and fiduciary obligations, and take all necessary and urgent measures to ensure full and complete compensation for the harm inflicted on all First Nations. The debate around the term genocide must not take us away from this priority issue, which lies at the heart of the solution.”

Last May, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights closed the issue by describing the entire colonial experience in Canada, including the large number of children removed from their families, Indian residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the correctional system and high suicide rates in Indigenous communities, as genocide, indicating that no other qualifiers were required under these circumstances.

“In itself, the implementation of the National Inquiry represents an admission of failure and powerlessness on the part of the Crown, both Canada and the provinces and territories, to ensure the protection and safety of First Nations people. Let us be clear, although the work of the National Inquiry, including its final report and recommendations, has provided some light and national awareness, it will certainly not be able to resolve, on its own, the vestiges of policies aimed at the extermination of First Nations. The situation requires major changes at all levels, starting with positive and urgent actions. The answer lies with governments, including our own,” said Chief Picard.

The final report indicates a total of 18 “calls to justice” with 231 recommendations, including the creation of a national ombudsman for Indigenous and human rights, as well as the establishment of Indigenous civilian police oversight agencies.

Chief Picard reminds us that every citizen of Canada must feel concerned by the situation and has a duty to do more to eradicate crimes, including sexual violence, myths and stereotypes against First Nations people, and particularly against women, girls and the 2SLGBTQQIA community who are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence.

Despite all the good intentions of the National Inquiry and their “calls for justice”, a huge void and sense of injustice remain for most survivors and their families who are still waiting for answers and concrete actions to move forward on their healing journey.

It should be noted that the AFNQL has made a commitment before several forums to support First Nations women to bring their voices to international bodies, including the committee that oversees the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, so that they can finally obtain justice and respect for their human rights.

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

Coordinated and Immediate Action Required to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls and those at Risk: AFN National Chief

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says immediate and sustained action in coordination with First Nations is essential to fully implement the recommendations and Calls to Justice in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry) released in Gatineau this morning.

“The final report of the National Inquiry reaffirms what First Nations and families have been saying for many years – we need immediate, sustained and coordinated action to address the long-standing and systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls and those at risk,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “Lives are at stake. We cannot wait any longer for real action and real results to ensure the respect, safety and security of all First Nations at risk, and these efforts must be in coordination with survivors and families. I lift up survivors, family members and all those who shared their experiences. I thank them for their strength and courage in this important truth-telling exercise. We continue to stand with you in your healing journey.”

The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was formally presented to federal government officials today at a closing ceremony at the Canadian Museum of History.  The two volume report includes 11 chapters, four overarching findings and more than 200 recommendations.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be acting right now and AFN is already working in many of the areas identified for action, including First Nations control of child welfare, the revitalization of Indigenous languages and a new fiscal relationship that will help build healthier and safer First Nations,” said National Chief Bellegarde.

The AFN, together with First Nations, families and other Indigenous organizations, has consistently called for immediate action prior to the Inquiry and during the Inquiry process, and has outlined specific areas where immediate action can be taken to address and end violence.

“I support the call for a strength-based approach that recognizes the deep and abiding love and care that we have for our women and girls,” said AFN Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who holds the national portfolio for women’s priorities.  “We must always remember that we are talking about people – mothers, daughters, sisters, our children and family members who are loved. These are not just numbers and statistics. I also urge governments to invest funding in Indigenous women for new and innovative programs and services that will create substantive equality for our women so they are strengthened and can live safe and secure lives.”

“We can take action right now while work is underway toward a coordinated implementation plan on the Inquiry’s recommendations,” said AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee, who leads the justice portfolio at AFN.  “We can move on safe spaces and shelters for First Nations women, girls and LGBTQ2S, safe transportation, increased access to day-care and mental health supports for women affected by gender-based violence and all forms of abuse, and improved law enforcement for human trafficking and appropriate supports for those in and out of the sex trade.”

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls launched in December 2015 with the mandate to look into and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls, including sexual violence. The National Inquiry concluded its truth gathering process mid-December 2018. The AFN was a party with standing in the National Inquiry and made its final submission in Calgary in November 2018.

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

Lakehead University PhD student Holly Prince awarded Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

June 3, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Holly Prince is one of only 20 doctoral students from across Canada and the globe who has received a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards in Canada in the social sciences and humanities fields. 

Prince is an Indigenous scholar and Anishinaabekwe from the Red Rock Indian Band, Lake Helen Reserve, and currently a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education (Thunder Bay campus), supervised by Dr. Lisa Korteweg, in the Joint PhD in Education program.

For more than a decade, Prince has been working as a researcher and project manager at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health (CERAH), focused on improving the end-of-life care in Indigenous communities with the active collaboration of community members.

Her current PhD work is situated in Indigenous community-based educational research, interdisciplinary in its focus on accessible, culturally relevant, well-being and education services, determined with and controlled by Indigenous people.

Prince has been awarded $180,000 over three years to advance her research into First Nations community-based palliative care education and programs, including funds to promote travel for research and scholarly networking and knowledge dissemination.

“I am extremely excited to have been awarded this honour and to become part of the new doctoral cohort in the Trudeau Foundation scholarly community,” said Prince.

“I feel both humbled and extremely responsible in my role as an Indigenous scholar, to see my own doctoral work as improving the conditions for academic research with Indigenous communities or bringing research back to life or positive repute in communities.”

“The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation (PETF) encourages research that strives to make societal change through academia,” Prince said.

“Being part of such an accomplished and influential academic community will offer great opportunities to move Canadian institutions, like healthcare and education, forward in prioritizing Indigenous peoples, communities and our knowledge systems in research. I look forward to inquiring with fellow PETF scholars and mentors as to how academia can respectfully recognize the importance of Indigenous perspectives in the pursuit of knowledge and ideas.”

Even though Prince’s research is specifically situated in palliative care education in Indigenous communities, she said this kind of work is relevant for all research in Canada, given the “longstanding broken relationships between Indigenous communities and universities and an ongoing inadequate acknowledgement of the value of Indigenous knowledge systems and community-based control.” 

The Trudeau Foundation receives nominations from top PhD candidates in the Social Sciences and Humanities fields from universities across Canada and internationally. About 300 exceptional PhD students are nominated by their home universities, but only 20 in total are chosen after a grueling application process, including flying to Montreal for personal and group interviews.

This is the first time Lakehead University has nominated a graduate student for the PETF scholarship.  

“For Holly to be awarded the renowned Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship is a phenomenal achievement and a testament to the outstanding quality of her scholarship,” said Dr. Korteweg, Prince’s supervisor.

“It is also a tribute to the pressing need for more Indigenous research by Indigenous scholars and with Indigenous communities. I couldn’t be prouder of Holly and for the national recognition of her Indigenous scholarship,” Dr. Korteweg added.

“For Holly to receive the prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship is a wonderful personal achievement and a tribute to her scholarship,” said Dr. Wayne Melville, Acting Dean of Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education.

“As a Faculty we wish her all the best as she pursues her vital research into First Nations community-based palliative care education programs. The award is also a testament to the quality of the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program here at Lakehead, and the commitment of our faculty members to nurturing the next generation of researchers,” he added.

For more information:

Proposed change to the Oath of Citizenship To recognize rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

May 28, 2019 – Ottawa – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today introduced Bill C-99, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act, to change Canada’s Oath of Citizenship to include clear reference to the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The proposed amendment to the Oath reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation, and a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The new proposed language adds references to Canada’s Constitution and the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples:

“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen”.

Taking the Oath of Citizenship is the last step before receiving Canadian citizenship. The Oath of Citizenship is a solemn promise to follow the laws of Canada and to perform the new citizen’s duties as a Canadian citizen. It is a public declaration that the new citizen is joining the Canadian family and that the new citizen is committed to Canadian values and traditions.


“The change to the Oath is an important step on our path to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. It will encourage new Canadians to learn about Indigenous peoples and their history, which will help them to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous peoples in forming Canada’s fabric and identity.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action are an important roadmap for all levels of government, civil society, education and health care institutions, and the private sector to ensure Indigenous people included as we build a stronger Canada together. The change to the Oath of Citizenship introduced today responds to Call to Action No. 94 and demonstrates to all Canadians, including to our newest citizens, that Indigenous and treaty rights are not just important to Canada—they are an essential part of our country’s character.”

– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis is not only an Indigenous issue; it’s a Canadian issue. It will take partners at all levels to move reconciliation forward. Today, we are advancing that partnership by proposing that all Canadians make a solemn promise to respect Indigenous rights when they recite the Oath of Citizenship.”

– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services

“I welcome the Government’s new legislation to change the Oath of Citizenship to better reflect a more inclusive history of Canada, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its final report. To understand what it means to be Canadian, it is important to know about the three founding peoples – the Indigenous people, the French and the British. Reconciliation requires that a new vision, based on a commitment to mutual respect, be developed. Part of that vision is encouraging all Canadians, including newcomers, to understand the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit including information about the Treaties and the history of the residential schools so that we all honour the truth and work together to build a more inclusive Canada.”

– Senator Murray Sinclair

Quick facts:  

  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report states: “Precisely because ‘we are all Treaty people,’ Canada’s Oath of Citizenship must include a solemn promise to respect Aboriginal and Treaty rights”.  

  • The Government consulted extensively with national Indigenous organizations on amendments to the Oath of Citizenship.

  • Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes rights – including both Aboriginal rights and treaty rights – of Indigenous peoples (section 35 speaks of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada). Section 35 protects the practices and customs that are at the centre of Indigenous culture and traditions. The rights covered by section 35 include hunting and fishing rights, land rights and self-government rights.
  • Canada supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration recognizes Indigenous peoples’ human rights, as well as rights to self-determination, language, equality and land.  
  • Today, more than 1.6 million people, or nearly 5% of Canada’s population, are Indigenous.

Nibi (Water) Declaration Unanimously Supported at the Anishinaabe Treaty #3 Chiefs National Assembly

Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels signs the Declaration last week at the National Spring Assembly of the Grand Council Treaty #3 Chiefs.

Couchiching First Nation — Grand Council Treaty #3 Women’s Council received support by the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty #3 for their continued work on NiBi, the sacred Nibi Declaration and toolkit.

The development of a water declaration would ensure that Treaty #3 Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakonigewin (water law principles) are recorded and formally recognized in governance processes.The declaration will guide GCT3 Leadership in the creation of future policy and decision-making processes that relate to water. Another component of the declaration is to inspire people to take action to protect water through the development of a toolkit that contains curriculum based learning tools and information on how to get involved in the further development of this important work. 

“This knowledge will be preserved and shared through the declaration with our youth and future generations,” said Women’s Council member Priscilla Simard. “Anishinaabe-Ikwewag have a sacred responsibility to NiBi and should be included in all decision-making around nibi. This declaration will guide us in our relationship with NiBi so we can take action individually, in our communities and as a nation to help ensure healthy, living NiBi for all of creation.”

With the declaration  in hand, the Women’s Council will forge ahead with this important work of honouring Nibi throughout the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty #3. An exercise that has seen the Nibi Declaration received through ceremony at the National Spring Assembly and will be distributed to all communities at the National Fall Assembly.

The NIBI Declaration Principles in the form of Thunderbird

“This declaration is vital for the physical and spiritual health of our Treaty #3 communities, our land, our families and future generations,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “When I was approached with the original model of this declaration, I had a vision that instructed me to tell the people that water is precious and it can give life but water can also be dangerous and can take life.  The Nibi Declaration is a way for Treaty #3 to explain the Anishinaabe relationship to water. This Declaration is about respect, love, and our sacred relationship with nibi and the life that it brings. It is based on Gitiizii m-inaanik teachings about nibi, aki/lands, other elements (including air and wind) and all of creation. This knowledge will be preserved and shared through the declaration with our youth and future generations.”

As Anishinaabe Kwe, the Women’s Council have responsibilities which includes child care and water. Isobel White (Naotakamegwanning – Whitefish Bay), Priscilla Simard (Couchiching), Maggie Petiquan (Wabauskang), Rhonda Fischer (Niisaachewan –  Dalles), Anita Collins (Seine River) are representatives from the four directional governance model. The Women’s Council worked together with the Territorial Planning Unit and Decolonizing Water.

Special Parliamentary Committee on Youth Protection “Our Children Also Deserve to Grow Up in Dignity”

Wendake, May 28, 2019 – In response to Premier Legault’s May 17 announcement of the creation of a Special Parliamentary Committee on Youth Protection chaired by Régine Laurent, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) reiterates the importance of including First Nations in any reflection process, including the discussions that will determine the mandate of the Special Parliamentary Committee. It will be essential to address the functioning of Quebec’s youth protection system and its relationship with First Nations, and to review interventions in order to better meet the interests of First Nations children.

“While any decision regarding a child must be made in the best interest and well-being of the child, the over-representation of First Nations children in the child welfare system remains an undeniable and disturbing reality at all stages of intervention,” declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

With the introduction of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, which affirms the rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples with respect to child and family services, the Special Parliamentary Committee cannot proceed without paying particular attention to the challenges and issues faced by First Nations in Quebec. “The AFNQL supports First Nations in the exercise of their right to self-determination. We expect nothing less from the Government of Quebec, which will have to make the decisions that will ensure our full involvement throughout the process,” added Chief Ghislain Picard.

The statistics show a critical and alarming situation. In addition to reviewing the functioning of the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (youth protection directorate) and the role of the courts, this commission will allow us to highlight the inequalities experienced by First Nations children throughout Quebec.

“The AFNQL demands the appointment of a First Nations co-chair to the Special Parliamentary Committee. In addition, we ask that issues specific to First Nations children be included in the commission’s mandate. Our children also deserve to grow up in dignity,” concluded Chief Ghislain Picard.

A few statistics:

• The rate of reports retained for evaluation among First Nations children in Quebec is 4.4 times higher than among non-Indigenous children.

• First Nations children are 6 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to have their safety or development considered as compromised.

• The rate of First Nations children placed by the Director of Youth Protection is nearly 8 times higher than that of non-Indigenous children.

About the AFNQL

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

Commission parlementaire spéciale sur la protection de la jeunesse « Nos enfants méritent aussi de grandir dans la dignité »

Wendake, le 28 mai 2019 – En réaction à l’annonce du 17 mai dernier par le premier ministre Legault de la mise sur pied d’une Commission parlementaire spéciale sur la protection de la jeunesse présidée par madame Régine Laurent, l’Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec- Labrador (APNQL) réitère l’importance d’inclure les Premières Nations dans tout processus de réflexion, y compris les discussions qui détermineront le mandat de la Commission parlementaire spéciale. Il sera primordial d’aborder le fonctionnement du système de protection de la jeunesse du Québec et sa relation avec les Premières Nations, et de revoir les interventions dans le but de mieux répondre à l’intérêt des enfants des Premières Nations.

« Bien que toute décision concernant un enfant doive être prise dans son intérêt supérieur et son mieux-être, la surreprésentation des enfants issus des Premières Nations dans le système de la protection de la jeunesse demeure une réalité indéniable et préoccupante, et ce, à tous les stades d’intervention », a déclaré le chef de l’APNQL, Ghislain Picard.

Avec le dépôt du projet de loi fédéral C-92, soit la Loi concernant les enfants, les jeunes et les familles des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis, qui affirme les droits et la compétence des peuples autochtones en matière de services à l’enfance et à la famille, la Commission parlementaire spéciale ne peut procéder sans porter une attention particulière aux défis et aux enjeux vécus par les Premières Nations au Québec. « L’APNQL soutient les Premières Nations dans l’exercice de leur droit à l’autodétermination. Nous n’attendons rien de moins de la part du gouvernement du Québec, qui devra prendre les décisions qui assureront notre pleine implication tout au long du processus », a ajouté le chef Ghislain Picard.

Les statistiques démontrent une situation critique et alarmante. En plus de revoir le fonctionnement de la Direction de la protection de la jeunesse et le rôle des tribunaux, cette Commission nous permettra de mettre en lumière les inégalités que vivent les enfants des Premières Nations sur tout le territoire au Québec.

« L’APNQL exige la nomination d’une personne issue des Premières Nations à la co-présidence de la Commission parlementaire spéciale. De plus, nous demandons que les enjeux spécifiques aux enfants des Premières Nations fassent partie du mandat de la Commission. Nos enfants méritent aussi de grandir dans la dignité », a conclu le chef Ghislain Picard.

Quelques statistiques :

• Le nombre de signalements retenus pour évaluation chez les enfants des Premières Nations au Québec est 4,4 fois plus élevé que chez les allochtones.

• Les enfants des Premières Nations sont 6 fois plus susceptibles que les enfants allochtones de voir leur sécurité ou leur développement jugé compromis.

• Le taux d’enfants des Premières Nations placés par le Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse est près de 8 fois plus élevé que celui des enfants allochtones.

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. Suivez l’APNQL sur Twitter @APNQL.

Respect for First Nations Rights is Essential to Canada’s Economy, Says AFN National Chief Bellegarde in Wake of BC Court of Appeal Decision

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says economic certainty can only be achieved when First Nations rights, title and jurisdiction are respected and upheld, including the standard of free, prior and informed consent. The National Chief made the comments following the decision by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in the B.C. government’s reference question on regulatory powers over crude oil.

“First Nations rights over any decisions that affect our lives or traditional territories, including the duty to consult and free, prior and informed consent, must be respected by all governments,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Respect for these rights is not a barrier to economic certainty. Ignoring these rights leads to uncertainty, conflict and costly litigation. It’s unfortunate that this decision ignores First Nations rights and fails to recognize that First Nations are an order of the government within Canada’s Constitutional framework. The federal and provincial levels of government must ensure that First Nation customary laws and processes are respected at all times. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is the only way forward.”

The AFN intervened in this reference case – Proposed Amendments to the Environmental Act – insisting the court ensure the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and free, prior and informed consent be upheld, along with customary laws and practices. AFN also called on the court to consider the perspectives of First Nations, their relationship to the lands and natural environment, and the way these relationships are uniquely and inextricably connected to First Nations health, well-being and cultural, social and economic vitality.

AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, co-chair of the AFN Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment, said: “This court decision does not speak to the very obvious fact that a true partnership with First Nations is required for any decisions that impact our territories. Building an honest trusting relationship with First Nations is key to building a future that protects and sustains the environment regardless of jurisdiction. We can work on the environment and still invest in education, in healthcare and still find new ways to build a modern innovative economy that thrives. But the relationship with First Nations must be genuine, respectful, open and we must be involved right from the very start.”

The decision on the proposed amendments to the Environmental Management Act dealt with the jurisdiction and authority of the Government of B.C. to regulate and restrict companies that transport diluted bitumen through B.C. The unanimous ruling found that the draft legislation was not within BC’s jurisdiction to enact.

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

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Calls for Fundamental Changes in Justice System to Reflect Respect for Indigenous Women and Girls and First Nations Approaches to Justice

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today’s Supreme Court of Canada decision inR v. Bartonincludes some positive steps but reinforces the need for fundamental changes to Canada’s legal system to ensure fairness and dignity for Indigenous women and girls, and respect for First Nations approaches to justice.

“I agree with the statement in today’s decision that ‘we can – and must – do better’ to address the failings of the justice system when it comes to Indigenous women and girls,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The decision includes some important changes to the law, notably instructions that judges must provide to juries in cases of sexual assault involving Indigenous women. Canada’s highest court is acknowledging the prejudices and biases against Indigenous women and girls, and the need for reform. I am disappointed that the case is being sent back for re-trial on the reduced charge of manslaughter. We will continue to push for fundamental change in the justice system to embrace First Nations approaches like restorative justice and respect for our peoples and rights.”

The AFN was an intervenor in R v. Barton. The AFN intervened in support of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and for more respectful treatment of Indigenous women in the justice system. Bradley Barton was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue in June 2011 and a jury acquitted him following a month-long trial in 2015. In its submissions, the AFN argued the importance of the mandatory requirements of s. 276 of the Criminal Code to protect the equality and privacy rights of a victim, and the necessity for fair and balanced instructions to the juries regarding racial biases. The AFN also argued that the characterizations of Cindy Gladue during the trial perpetuated myths and stereotypes about Indigenous women that should not form any part of Canadian law.

“The lives of Indigenous peoples must be valued and we need to fix the broken systems that consistently suggests our lives are worth less than others,” said AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee who holds the justice portfolio with the AFN.  “First Nations are underrepresented on juries and overrepresented in jails. This is why we continue to push for the support and implementation of restorative justice and to increase the representation of Indigenous people on juries and in the judiciary. We want all Canadians to stand with us in this work.”

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

Canada’s Navy forges ties with Inuit Nunangat

May 27, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will affiliate each of its six new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) with regions of the Inuit Nunangat. The first such affiliation, between the future Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf and the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut, was formally recognized during a visit by her Commanding Officer, Commander Corey Gleason in Iqaluit today.

Affiliation between an HMC Ship, its sailors and civilian communities is a long-standing and honoured naval tradition, with relationships lasting throughout the service life of the ship. The remaining affiliations within the Inuit Nunangat in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions of Nunavut as well as the Inuvialuit, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut regions – will occur as each AOPS is constructed and enters service.

Over the next several years, the six AOPS’s and their crews will build ties with the communities in these regions during routine operations in Canada’s Northern waters. The relationships established between the Inuit Nunangat and the RCN AOPS will create solid partnerships that generate pride in both the ship’s company and the communities they will represent. Each ship’s company will work with community members, local leaders, and engage with youth groups, to build relationships based on respect, mutual understanding, and shared experiences.


“Canada’s Northern communities have unique experiences to share with our Royal Canadian Navy which will directly contribute to a deeper understanding of their culture and heritage. Strengthening our relationship with Inuit communities helps the Canadian Armed Forces to enhance its awareness of issues that confront those living in the North, and will contribute to a more meaningful engagement and enduring presence in the Arctic, helping to keep Canada strong at home.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“On behalf of the Government of Nunavut, I welcome the Commanding Officer to the Qikiqtaaluk and look forward to engaging with the crew of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf. I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between Canada’s Navy and our vibrant communities.  We are excited to welcome you, and work with you to protect Canada’s Arctic.”

The Honourable Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut

“Inuit have been an integral part of Canada’s efforts to establish sovereignty in the Arctic. From Sanikiluaq on the Belcher Islands to Grise Fiord, in the High Arctic, Inuit were relocated to various Qikiqtani communities to establish Canada’s presence in the region. Today we embark on a new chapter in Arctic sovereignty, a chapter marked by dialogue and cooperation. In this spirit of reconciliation, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association welcomes the future HMCS Harry DeWolf.”

P.J. Akeeagok, President, Qikiqtani Inuit Association

“The Arctic is important to Canada’s identity, its security, and its future prosperity. These vibrant communities are at the heart of Canada’s North and form an integral part of Canada’s history and identity. Engaging with the people in the Inuit Nunangat will help the RCN to better understand and connect with this important region and enhance the conduct of our Northern operations for years to come. The RCN looks forward to working with these communities as we begin what promises to be a long-lasting and mutually respectful relationship.”

Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander Royal Canadian Navy

“Affiliation is an important naval tradition, and I am honoured that the crew of HMCS Harry DeWolf will perpetuate this custom with communities of the Qikiqtani region. As Commanding Officer of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, my ship’s company and I look forward to operating in our Northern waters and to engaging with communities throughout the region.”

Commander Corey Gleason, Commanding Officer, HMCS Harry DeWolf

Quick Facts

·       The Royal Canadian Navy is a rapidly deployable, highly flexible multipurpose maritime team that provides the Government of Canada with a range of defence and security options in support of Canadian interests at home and abroad.

·       In Canada’s Arctic waters, upholding national sovereignty, providing armed seaborne surveillance and defence, and delivering maritime domain awareness, is a collaborative effort between the RCN and trusted partners in other government departments and agencies.

·       Affiliation between the Royal Canadian Navy’s AOPS and the Inuit Nunangat supports Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, by strengthening the Navy’s understanding of the Arctic region and connecting with our most remote communities.

·       Spanning three territories and stretching as far as the North Pole, Canada’s North is a sprawling region, encompassing 75 percent of the country’s national coastlines. The sheer expanse of Canada’s North, coupled with its ice-filled seas, harsh climate, and more than 36,000 islands make for a challenging region to monitor – particularly as the North encompasses a significant portion of the maritime approaches to North America.

·       Approximately 43 per cent of Canada’s ocean coastline is found within the Nunavut Settlement Area; 104,000 out of a total of 243,000 kilometres.

·       24 out of 25 Nunavut communities are coastal communities, including all 13 communities in the Qikiqtani region.

·       The Qikiqtani region is the largest of the three regions in Nunavut, with a total population of 19,654; 15,507 of whom are Inuit.