Saskatchewan First Nations will be on the world stage next month when a high-ranking United Nations representative comes to visit.
James Anaya is responsible for promoting laws and policies that support Indigenous people around the world and a number of provincial bands plan to tell him Canada is not living up to its treaty obligations.
This message will be delivered by Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde and other Aboriginal leaders who will be meeting with Anaya at the Treaty Four Governance Centre in Fort Qu’Appelle on Oct. 13.
Bellegarde says it is important that the world knows that Canada’s First Nations people are still fighting to have their rights honoured.
“You know letting people of the United Nations know that the treaties have never been honoured or implemented, letting them know about the quality of life facing our people, you know it’s terrible, our people are living in third world conditions in Canada on our reservations and that is not acceptable.”
Anaya will also spend the morning at the Buffalo River Dene Nation where he will get a first-hand look at life on a Saskatchewan reserve.
Bellegarde says while Anaya has no real power to change anything, he can deliver a powerful message and apply political pressure on the federal government.
“You have somebody from the United Nations making a duly ratified and respected report that should have some influence on the nation state,” he says.
The FSIN will also be leading a delegation to Britain on Oct. 3 for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Royal Proclamation which sets out treaty rights for Canada’s Indigenous people.
First Nations elders and veterans will be part of the group that travels to London.
Bellegarde hopes to meet with British members of parliament and, if possible, Queen Elizabeth II.