On Oct. 31 Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister for Indigenous-Crown relations sent a letter to various Indigenous communities outlining the start of a new consultation process.
The federal government intends on addressing various concerns around the Indian registry, membership and citizenship. Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron said he’d like to see a different government official take part in the consultation process.
“I’ve said this right from the start: the Crown relationship is with the Governor General of Canada,” Cameron said. “If she’s not involved in these discussions or meetings, this is not going to go good.”
Cameron said he appreciates the fact Bennett is working to address issues in the Indigenous world but he said the only recourse would be done by meetings with the newly sworn in Julie Payette.
Cameron said he was unimpressed with the way Bennett went about informing Indigenous communities and leaders about the upcoming consultations - the FSIN received the letter in an email.
“That’s not a nation-to-nation relationship, that’s not reiterating the words of Prime Minister Trudeau when he said the most important relationship is with First Nations people,” Cameron said. “We shouldn’t be receiving things through email, it should be done through meaningful consultation.”
Cameron said the FSIN is making a point of asking both federal and provincial governments to meet face-to-face to discuss issues.
The FSIN Chief said he appreciates the government making an effort to begin addressing the racist Indian Act document but added there’s a lot of work to be done when addressing citizenship and membership.
He said he’d like to see Indigenous people as leaders in the upcoming discussions.
“That’s where the stronghold is; that’s where the direction is; that’s where the voices are,” Cameron said. “It’s not in Ottawa, it’s not at the FSIN, it's right at our member First Nations.”
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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