Premiers forge ahead with Indigenous meeting despite boycott by three groups

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed and Métis National Council President Clément Chartier will hold a news conference in Toronto on Monday to discuss the gathering of premiers and territorial leaders.

For too long, they said, leaders of national Indigenous organizations have been shunted aside to a two-hour pre-council meeting about topical subjects with no path to meaningful change.

"I look forward to welcoming my fellow Premiers to Alberta", said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who is the chair of the Council at the summer meeting.

"We hope that the others will join us at some point so that we can work together to address these issues". "We are Indigenous Peoples with the right to self-determination, because we have our own lands, we have our own laws, we have our own languages, we have our own identifiable peoples and we have our identifiable forms of government", he said.

Bellegarde said Indigenous groups have been excluded from too many important discussions over the past year, including development of energy and climate change policies and the national health accord.

"Process can be very important, but at the end of the day it's only important because we're all trying to achieve results that will improve the quality of life of Indigenous people", said Gallant.

"We've got to find ways and means to bring governments to the table to talk with us".

"Unless we start taking a stand, they're not going to listen to us", he said.

She and the leaders of Canada's provinces and territories met with National Chief Robert Bertrand of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and Francyne Joe, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada.

That meeting is slated for Monday at 1 p.m., in the Federal Building.

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