Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Stands United with Chiefs of Ontario Against Bill C-53
September 20, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) firmly stands with the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) in their position on Bill C-53. In a statement earlier this week, the COO announced its position that any agreements with groups claiming rights within the traditional and Treaty territories of First Nations must ensure they do not infringe upon or weaken the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations.
Bill C-53 seeks to acknowledge specific Métis governments in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, outlining a plan for their treaty implementation with the Government of Canada. However, the ongoing exclusion of First Nations from this legislative process poses a serious risk to First Nations’ ability to fully assert our Inherent and Treaty Rights.
“Many First Nations still have existing and unresolved Treaty land claims against Canada due to Treaty breaches,” explained AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “Canada has a binding obligation, through Treaty, to protect the Inherent and Treaty Rights of First Nations peoples. Bill C-53 threatens to undermine our Inherent Right to the land, which is, of course, sui generis.”
The AMC is prepared to collaborate with First Nations leadership across Turtle Island to safeguard our distinct rights as first peoples. “Many of AMC’s member First Nations have traditional and Treaty territories outside of provincial boundaries. First Nations have always lived and used the land that is now called Canada. It is imperative that First Nations are consulted in a way that adheres to international and national standards and respects the autonomy and self-determination of each individual First Nation,” concluded Grand Chief Merrick.
The AMC urges the Canadian government to equitably collaborate with First Nations leadership to honor its Treaty obligations and implement the principles of free, prior, and informed consent. Disregarding First Nations in these discussions not only contradicts Canada’s commitments to reconciliation and Canada’s own United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and action plan, but also opens the door to potential legal consequences.
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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.