President Natan Obed of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and President Cassidy Caron of the Métis National Council (MNC), together issue the following joint statement on the meeting of National Indigenous Leaders and Premiers happening in Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 10.
“ITK generally welcomes any opportunity to share Inuit priorities with territorial and provincial leaders, but any such meeting should be done with clear objectives and be respectful of Inuit governance.” said President Obed
“As the National and International representative of the Métis Nation, the Métis National Council strongly believes in the need for intergovernmental fora where Indigenous peoples can meaningfully engage with Provincial and Territorial Governments. However, these meetings must respect the well-established principles and processes for a rights-based, nation-to-nation approach with the Métis Nation,” added President Caron.
Both ITK and MNC believe in the need for intergovernmental fora where Inuit and Métis representative institutions can meaningfully engage with Provincial and Territorial Governments, however, the invitation of various organizations to said meetings such as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Native Women’s Association of Canada which claim to represent Inuit and Métis rights is inappropriate. These organizations are not recognized by the four Inuit Treaty Organizations which collectively represent all Inuit, or the democratically elected Métis Governments which represent Métis citizens across the Homeland in Inuit and Métis relationships with the Crown. Discussions with such organizations are not constructive because only Inuit Treaty Organizations have the mandate or the ability to work on behalf of Inuit, and Métis Governments the mandate to represent Métis Nation citizens. It is both ITK and MNC who are the duly mandated national representatives who are best placed to collaborate with federal, provincial or territorial governments.
After much deliberation and discussion with the democratically elected Métis Governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, who direct the Métis National Council, President Caron will attend the meeting on July 10th to represent the Métis Nation and to bring to the Premiers clear terms for future participation.
ITK and MNC have shared the following terms and conditions with Governments to facilitate meaningful and effective participation of Inuit and Métis in intergovernmental meetings, such as:
• Meaningful involvement in the development of an agenda;
• A commitment and a strategy for follow up from any action items identified in the meeting;
• Participation of Inuit and Métis representative organizations and Governments in all agenda items under discussion at the meeting; and,
• Respect and support for Inuit and Métis governance structures.
Effective partnership with Indigenous peoples requires substantial work between Indigenous representative organizations and federal, provincial and territorial government on defining and advancing our common and shared priorities. Canadians deserve more than an annual photograph of politicians: they deserve concrete and robust action to advance our common national interests. When federal, provincial and territorial leaders are in a position to work constructively with Indigenous peoples, Inuit and the Métis Nation will be happy to work in partnership.