SCO Insists Government of Canada Must Fully and Duly Consult with First Nations
December 4, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Today, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is insisting the Government of Canada must revisit Bill C-53: An Act respecting the recognition of certain Métis governments in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, to give effect to treaties with those governments and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
“It is essential that First Nations are fully consulted on any laws that are going to create Treaties with Metis governments,” shared SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “An appropriate First Nations consultation framework is missing from the current process. SCO supports the inherent legislative rights of First Nations to assert their Treaty rights and access their territories without fear or threat of compromise. We call upon the federal government to revisit Bill C-53.”
Moving forward without conducting proper consultation or gaining the consent of First Nations to create new section 35 rights-holding entities conflicts with Canada’s obligation to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the subsequent United Nations Declaration Act (UNDA). Both the declaration and the act confirm the inherent rights of First Nations when it comes to control of the lands, territories, and resources as the first peoples of what is now Canada.
“Earlier this year, Canada worked with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization to receive our input on an UNDA action plan for carrying out the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If this government is truly committed to this legislation, along with reconciliation, we urge leadership to ensure there is full consultation and co-development with First Nations on Bill C-53.”
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 85,500 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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