NCAI Statement of Support for Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Rights of Canada’s First Nations to Consultation

Published on Jan 10, 2013

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has released the following statement in support of the First Nations of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) efforts to hold the Canadian government accountable to its commitment to consultation.

On Friday January 11, 2013, AFN will host a meeting of a delegation coordinated by AFN and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of his Cabinet. The meeting comes after AFN and First Nations have called for improved nation-to-nation consultations following legislation passed by the Canadian Parliament in December 2012, Bill C-45; Jobs and Growth Act, 2012. AFN and First Nations expressed opposition prior to and following the passage of Bill C-45, which fails to respect the Treaties and rights of First Nations.

“NCAI supports AFN and the rights of Canada’s First Nations to nation-to-nation consultation and calls on the Canadian Government to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, of which Canada and the United States have both adopted. As stated in the Declaration, and has been proven time and time again, consultations between indigenous peoples including tribal nations and the governments of North America, are essential to crafting a vision for a shared future,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI, the United States’ oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization.

“We stand united as the tribal nations of North America, as a family of first peoples and first governments of this land, and we stand united to protect our rights. There may be a border separating Canada and the United States, however as first Nations of North America we are not separate, and we will not be divided. And nor should we be divided in our nation-to-nation relationships,” continued Keel.

“Tribal nations of the United States have recently engaged in extensive and improved nation-to-nation consultations as a result of the Obama Administration’s commitment to upholding the U.S. President’s Executive Order on Consultation. These consultations have resulted in strong tribal nations, and a stronger America. We look forward to hearing from AFN the results of tomorrow’s discussions with Prime Minister Steven Harper and the Canadian Government. We stand ready to support AFN and the First Nations of Canada as they take important action to protect the rights, lands, and resources of First Nations and people,” Keel concluded.

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