Canada supports the nation rebuilding efforts of Indigenous groups in Atlantic Canada to advance self-determination and reconciliation

News release

February 11, 2021 — Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is rebuilding the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples through supporting the right to self-determination. A key part of this work is through the Nation Rebuilding Program.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced that Canada has provided almost $1.8 million this fiscal year to five Indigenous groups from Atlantic Canada through the Nation Rebuilding Program. Minister Bennett met virtually with Epekwitk Assembly of Councils to learn more about the work being undertaken in their nation and their unique priorities and needs.

Funding this year will enable the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils to continue their capacity-building and community engagement activities in support of nation rebuilding through “L’nuey”, the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative. Activities include:

  • The development of the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq Vision document to guide their path towards self-government,
  • Research and engagement with respect to citizenship, and
  • The development of education tools that will empower the Mi’kmaq as well as educate and inform the broader PEI community.

In Budget 2018, the Government invested $100 million over five years to support Indigenous groups’ efforts to rebuild their governance structures and reconstitute their nations.

Over the past three years, since the Budget 2018 announcement, Indigenous communities and groups in Atlantic Canada have received $4.3 million in funding through the Nation Rebuilding Program.       

The Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous peoples in Atlantic Canada on advancing reconciliation and supporting their right to self-determination.


“The Epekwitk Assembly of Councils is pleased to see the Government of Canada supporting our nation rebuilding efforts. It is essential that we exercise our inherent rights and govern our own nations in order to create a better future for ourselves and generations to come.”

Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation
Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Co-Chair

“Assistance from the Canadian government to rebuild our nations’ capacity for self-determination signals true commitment towards reconciliation. It is long overdue for the PEI Mi’kmaq to have our own self-governing authority and rebuild governance structures within our communities.”

Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation
Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Co-Chair

"The Government of Canada is proud to support Indigenous groups in Atlantic Canada in revitalizing and rebuilding their nations in their own vision. By coming together and developing their own paths, Indigenous groups are asserting their right to self-determination as they build their nation’s capacity to govern effectively and deliver a better future for their citizens.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting groups like the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, who are rebuilding their nation and who want to help educate and inform the broader PEI community about the Mi’kmaq and their history. Investments through the Nation Rebuilding Program are needed to support Indigenous visions for self-determination and a stronger future for their governments and their people.”

Sean Casey
Member of Parliament for Charlottetown

Quick facts

  • The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) recommended that Indigenous groups should begin to reconstitute themselves as nation.

  • Supporting Indigenous groups rebuilding their nations is also an objective outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

  • Under the Nation Rebuilding Program, $100 million in funding has been made available for five years, starting in 2018-19, to support Indigenous groups of the same nation in coming together to build capacity at the nation level.

  • The five Indigenous groups in Atlantic Canada who will receive Nation Rebuilding funding for 2020-21 are: Kwilmu'kw Maw-Klusuaqn in Nova Scotia, Mi'gmawe'I Tplu'taqnn and the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick, Epekwitk Assembly of Councils in Prince Edward Island and NunatuKavut Community Council in Labrador.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Ani Dergalstanian
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Sean Doke
Communications Officer, L’nuey

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