First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord and Cabinet Retreat Signa...
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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
Transmitted by CNW Group on : June 1, 2005 11:38
First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord and Cabinet Retreat Signal Steps Towards Self-Determination and Self-Government for First Nations
OTTAWA, June 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine signed a First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the
Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments last night. The
National Chief called it a "historic step forward for First Nations in their
relationship with the federal government" and an opportunity to give life to
the inherent Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, as recognized in
section 35 of Canada's Constitution.
"This political accord removes the straitjacket from federal policies and
programs and sets the stage for a new relationship between First Nations and
Canada and a new agenda for First Nations and Canada," said National Chief
Fontaine. "The recognition of rights as expressed in the Constitution is long
overdue, so we commend the Prime Minister for recognizing that moving towards
self-government is crucial to addressing the social and economic conditions
affecting our communities. We can make tremendous progress on long-standing
issues by addressing urgent priorities through this new framework that
addresses real self-determination, self-government negotiations, inherent
rights, Treaty implementation, resource and revenue sharing and access to
resources in traditional territories."
The accord commits First Nations and the Government of Canada to the
establishment of a Joint Steering Committee to undertake and oversee
cooperative action on policy change; the development of frameworks for the
recognition and reconciliation of Constitutional, treaty and inherent rights;
capacity-building opportunities for First Nations governance, and processes
and legislation that will enable the development of First Nation governments.
It was signed as part of the Cabinet Retreat, which brought together the Prime
Minister and key Cabinet Ministers with the National Chief, AFN Regional
Chiefs and representatives from the AFN's Women Council, Youth Council and
"First Nations and the AFN have worked hard to ensure that the Prime
Minister's commitment to us for a 'full seat at the table' becomes a reality
and regular part of our new relationship," stated the National Chief. "The
retreat - and the Accord in particular - show that all parties are committed
to real progress and moving forward in a manner that respects our right to
chart our own course and to take greater control and greater responsibility
for the decisions that affect our lives."
The agenda for the Cabinet Retreat built on the policy development,
priority setting and dialogue processes coordinated by the AFN since the
April 19th, 2004 Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable.
"The Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable process was a solid start and a
good beginning," stated the National Chief. "Now, we need to lay-out a
proactive and progressive agenda for the coming year. On May 30th, we signed
an agreement for a new approach to deal with the tragic legacy of the
residential schools. We are dealing with outstanding business of the past
through resolution and reconciliation. Now we are moving towards a new
relationship and new agenda for the future. We hope all parties will support
our work because it's in Canada's best interests to deal with our agenda. Our
future is Canada's future."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
/For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 320, cell: (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual
Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789, ext. 336, cell: (613) 859-4335;
Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 243, cell: (613) 298-6382/
ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS - More on this organization
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