On April 25, Métis Nation President Chartier joined National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapirtiit Kanatami President Natan Obed and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett at the 16th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York to mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Minister Bennett addressed the Permanent Forum on April 24th and reaffirmed the commitment of the federal government to fully adopt and implement the Declaration. She said that Canada will amend laws written in a paternalistic and colonial way and implement direction given to all Ministers in the Trudeau Cabinet. She also announced that Canada was retracting the government’s previous concerns about two aspects of the Declaration that deal with “free, prior and informed consent”.
Today the Minister joined the three national Indigenous leaders at a side event jointly sponsored by the AFN, MNC and ITK at the United Nations. In his remarks, President Chartier stated: “The Métis Nation has always based its rights as a people and a nation with the right to self-determination under international law. Peoplehood and nationhood are the ultimate source of Métis rights.”
He said he was encouraged by the Trudeau government viewing section 35 as a “full box” of rights. He noted that the Métis Nation had entered into a number of rights resolution processes and hoped to conclude agreements that could be constitutionally protected. Any legislative framework for implementing UNDRIP should reflect the commitment of Canada to enter into those agreements with s.35 rights bearing peoples.
The Métis Nation supports the goal of the Working Group of Ministers headed by the Justice Minister that will review federal policies and laws to ensure they are consistent with Canada’s obligations under UNDRIP. “This is a logical and positive step in the application of UNDRIP in Canada”, said President Chartier.
He also voiced support for the proposed federal Indigenous Languages Act as something that could put the preservation and promotion of Indigenous languages including Michif on a similar legal footing to Canada’s official languages.