April 26, 2021

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The AMC congratulates Mr. Desautel and the Sinixt Nation on the April 23, 2021 Supreme Court of Canada decision that confirms that Mr. Desautel, while not a Canadian citizen or resident, has a constitutionally protected Aboriginal right to hunt, even though the government of Canada has considered the Sinixt people extinct since 1956. 

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas stated: For far too long, the government of Canada has legislated the extinction of First Nations citizens through the Indian Act icontinued attempts to terminate our inherent and constitutional rights as the original people of this land. We applaud the Supreme Court of Canada for this decision which is consistent with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesCanada cannot continue to use the international border as an imposition on First Nations that negatively affects their rights. The AMC fully supports all First Nations in defining their citizenship and exercising their rights in their traditional territories. 

The AMC also congratulates the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee Incand the TLE First Nations in the April 23, 2021 victory in the Federal Court. The Manitoba TLE Framework was negotiated with Canada and signed on May 29, 1997. During the agreement’s implementation, Canada claimed a duty to consult with the Metis, which was not part of the negotiated reserve creation process for the TLE First Nations and caused further delay. The Federal Court confirmed that Canada’s unilateral behaviour constituted an event of default and that the releases and indemnities in the negotiated agreement are void and ineffective. 

The fact that it has been well over 100 years since Treaties were negotiated and adhered to and First Nations still must fight for the promises made under Treaty is reprehensible. Even when Canada has entered a binding negotiated agreement to fulfil its Treaty promises, it still finds ways to fail First Nations. On the one hand, the government of Canada fails to adequately consult First Nations on a myriad of issues. On the other, it uses the duty to consult the Metis people as an excuse to breach its agreements with First Nations. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Desautel decision clearly outlines that certain rights arise from First Nations’ prior occupation of this land that do not extend to the Metis. This is one of many examples of the Crown failing to act honourably, said Grand Chief Dumas.  

Grand Chief Dumas concluded, Since before first getting into office, the current federal government has espoused reconciliation, a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, and now has a federal bill involving the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Yet, from the Supreme Court of Canada to the Federal Court, and from BC to Manitoba, these cases show a coordinated ongoing attack on First Nations rights. Either Canada’s Justice Department is intentionally not hearing Prime Minister Trudeau’s statements on reconciliation and the UNDRIP, or those statements are disingenuous and untrue. We applaud these recent Court decisions and call upon the government of Canada to honour the Treaties it made with First Nations and respect the Nation-to-Nation partnership that is at the heart of these Treaties. 

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