(Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald at the Assembly of First Nations forum on rights in Gatineau. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)
Ontario’s regional chief RoseAnne Archibald is calling on the federal government to reset negotiations aimed at producing legislation that would enshrine Indigenous rights into law.
“The federal government continues to advance a deeply flawed engagement process concerning the Rights and Recognition Framework after significant resistance from not only Indigenous legal and cultural experts, but First Nations from across Canada,” said Archibald in a statement released Wednesday morning.
Archibald and other chiefs are meeting in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa at a forum hosted by the Assembly of First Nations forum called First Nations Rights, Title and Jurisdiction.
Canada is currently working on the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework.
The Crown-Indigenous Relations ministry is hosting a number of negotiating tables to get input from Indigenous communities across the country.
But many feel that the Trudeau government is taking a top down approach and any legislation should be drafted by communities themselves.
Others believe the ultimate goal of the legislation is to extinguish Indigenous rights entirely.
On Tuesday, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett spoke at the forum. The main subject of her speech was the framework where she tried to quell fears the government is aiming to write it alone and extinguish rights.
The statement released by the Chiefs of Ontario acknowledged that on other issues “we have made positive forward movement with the federal government.” But that “it’s troubling that while they are listening, they aren’t hearing First Nation voices.”
At an assembly in June where Archibald was elected regional chief, the chiefs also voted in favour of a resolution to reject the framework.
“We continue to encourage like-minded First Nations to assert their sovereignty through their own nation to nation governance structure processes,” the statement said.