Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde began a four-day tour of London, England on Friday in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation.
Bellegarde is part of a group of 13 First Nations veterans, elders and other officials who have traveled overseas as part of the FSIN delegation.
The FSIN Chief says the group will be participating in a number of activities over the course of the next few days to mark the significant event.
“The Royal Proclamation is important because it’s part of Canada’s constitution and it lays out the legal framework for our relationship with the Crown but, as well, it’s the Crown’s first time that they recognized First Nations people’s title to lands and territories.”
Bellegarde adds a big part of the trip will be a display of First Nations culture for Londoners, which includes a wreath laying and traditional pipe ceremony in honour of First Nations veterans at the Great War Memorial Guards Chapel on Saturday morning.
He says the trip is all about relationship building and the gaining of potential allies in the fight for treaty implementation.
Other events include a presentation by the delegation at the University of London on Friday evening and a meeting with officials at the Canadian High Commission on Monday morning.
Also on Monday morning, the group will host another pipe ceremony in Green Park, across form Buckingham Palace, to mark the official anniversary of the Royal Proclamation.
The trip officially got underway Thursday evening when Bellegarde met with academics at Oxford University to discuss issues of common interest such as the environment, energy development and treaty implementation.
The Royal Proclamation was officially declared by the British government on October 7th, 1763 and is considered by many as the first recognition by the Crown of the inherent rights of First Nations people to territories in North America.