AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says New Approach for Rights Implementation Essential, First Nations Engagement Crucial

Published: Feb 15, 2018News

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau of a new approach to rights recognition and implementation to be developed “in full partnership” with First Nations, including new mechanisms to recognize First Nations systems of governance and ensure consistent, meaningful implementation of Treaties and other agreements.

“Today the Prime Minister of Canada signaled a government-wide shift and a new approach to the recognition and full implementation of First Nations rights that will be developed in full partnership with First Nations before the next election,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Our rights are a reality that has been denied for too long, resulting in conflict and court battles for enforcement of our inherent rights, Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. This is an opportunity to move into a new era of recognition, with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as our framework for reconciliation. Recognizing and implementing our rights is directly connected to closing the gap for our peoples. The key will be walking this road together.”

Prime Minister Trudeau announced today Canada will develop a new approach towards the full recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights. The Prime Minister noted new legislation and policy would make the recognition and implementation of rights the basis for all relations between First Nations and the federal government. He laid out a timeline beginning with engagement that will continue throughout the spring, introduction of the framework for rights recognition this year, and implementation to take place before the next election.

National Chief Bellegarde added: “It was important to hear the Prime Minister repeat his government’s support for Bill C-262. That legislation is supported by First Nations, human rights advocates and many organizations that have fought for decades to see Indigenous rights realized and we are looking forward to seeing it completed.

The National Chief also noted the Prime Minister’s commitment, in the wake of the Colten Boushie trial to reforms to the justice system, including how juries are selected.

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

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]