Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says he welcomes Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments on overhauling the way the federal government relates to Indigenous Peoples.
The Prime Minister announced his government is committed to changing the way Canada deals with Indigenous rights.
Trudeau told the House of Commons Wednesday afternoon that the Liberals will come up with a new legal framework to ensure stronger Indigenous rights and self determination.
He says the new approach, which will be developed in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, is necessary to tackle challenges like overcrowded housing, unsafe drinking water and high suicide rates.
“To ensure that among other things Indigenous people might once again have confidence in a system that has failed them many times in the past,” Trudeau told the house.
Bellegarde spoke with reporters after the announcement and says he welcomes the comments.
The National Chief says the news comes during a tough week, in the wake of Friday’s jury acquittal of Gerald Stanley.
“It comes at a time when a lot of people need re-assurance that racism will no longer be tolerated, so I congratulate him on his leadership, and we want to replace the conflict we have seen in Canada and replace that with respect and cooperation,” said Bellegarde.
The Indigenous relations minister also spent time Thursday morning shedding more light on the Liberal government’s pledge.
Carolyn Bennett spoke with Indigenous leaders from Quebec and Labrador and says Indigenous groups should not have to surrender their rights in exchange for land or money.
The minister will be travelling through Atlantic Canada over the upcoming days to receive First Nations input on the proposed framework.
Trudeau says after consultations with First Nations the government plans to implement the framework later this year.
Critics to the promise have pointed to this Liberal government’s track record of falling short of lofty promises as reason for concern.
MBC has reached out to a few First Nation leaders from Saskatchewan for comment on the historic announcement.
(PHOTO: AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. File Photo)