The National Treaty Gathering at the Onion Lake Cree Nation is underway.
On Monday morning, chiefs from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario kicked off the gathering with a grand entry.
The four-day session runs until Thursday.
Organizers say it’s intended to bring First Nations citizens together so they can develop unified approaches to many issues facing them across the country.
Rose Laboucan of the Driftpile First Nation says she’s relieved the meeting has finally begun.
She says the drive to hold the gathering actually began years ago and she was a part of those early discussions.
“I’ve never missed one meeting since the conception started, and I want to tell all the people that are in the audience that this is also your meeting,” she says. “So whatever happens here today will bring a new tomorrow.”
Onion Lake chief Wallace Fox says it’s clear traditional approaches aren’t working.
“This has to be different,” he says. “It cannot be the way of the white people. We’ve tried their system for over a hundred years.”
He adds the treaty gathering isn’t intended to sow seeds of dissent within that group and the Assembly of First Nations.
Rather, it’s to look at new ways of getting government to honour its obligations.