AMC, SCO, MKO and AFN Regional Office Respond to Meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau
November 30th, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Office issue this statement in response to the meeting held with Prime Minister Trudeau that was hosted on November 29, 2022, to discuss national and regional priorities directly with the Prime Minister.
“We articulated to the Prime Minister that First Nations Governments in Manitoba need to be given oversight and control over the administration of funding for services for First Nations in Manitoba. There are chronic shortfalls in government services for First Nations, such as health and housing, that have been present for as long as Canada has existed,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick.
“We have some of the largest reserves in Canada and 22% of the First Nations population in Canada,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “Chronic underfunding has created crises in our First Nations, and we need investments to flow in this next budget that will address the needs and priorities identified by our leadership.”
The meeting between First Nations leadership and the Prime Minister of Canada was co-hosted by the Assembly of First Nations National Chief’s Office and the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss several joint priorities. It has been three years since the last leaders meeting between the AFN and Prime Minister, and it was the first time the AFN Regional Chiefs were invited to this meeting. In a demonstration of solidarity, AFN Regional Chief Woodhouse asked AMC, MKO and SCO Grand Chiefs to be in attendance.
Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said, “We all know that no one can undo, in a few years, the impacts of 155 plus years of chronic underfunding and under-servicing of First Nations, combined with the imposition of colonial, racist and genocidal policies and laws that impact our ability to define our own citizenship. The number of status First Nations is dwindling despite changes to Indian Act legislation. We need the Prime Minister to commit to working with us in partnership to ensure the Crown is meeting its constitutional, international human rights and other legal obligations with respect to Aboriginal and Treaty rights.”
The AFN’s top priorities for discussion included the following but not limited to climate change, funding for AFN Organization and funding for Regional Offices, UNDRIP Act – National Action Plan, Specific Claims & Additions to Reserve, Child Welfare, Infrastructure, Housing & Water and Uplifting Women (MMIWG) & 2SLGBTQQIA+.
Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse said, “I feel First Nations and Canada together have made a start. Over the last six budget cycles, all under the federal government, $55.65 billion of new investments have been committed to First Nations peoples in response to our own budget priorities. This is a landmark and represents a degree of responsiveness that no other Prime Minister has achieved”.
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Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.