Statement from Minister Marc Miller on the work completed by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada over the summer

Statement

Ottawa, Ontario (September 21, 2022) – The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, issued the following statement today:

“This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership, as well as community members including Elders, Survivors and youth, in person, on their land, to discuss common goals. Work has been done to deliver on our commitments to close socioeconomic gaps, address injustices, combat prejudice and strengthen our relationship with Indigenous Peoples. This has also been an opportunity to have direct conversations and build personal relationships.

We kicked off the summer by going to Siksika Nation in Alberta with the Prime Minister on June 2nd, to conclude one of the largest settlement agreements reached in Canada, aimed at addressing past wrongs dating back over a century when the Government of Canada broke its Treaty 7 promise and wrongfully took almost half of Siksika Nation’s reserve land.

On June 21, I celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day by meeting with Treaty 2 First Nations in their territory to discuss priorities on the recognition of rights and self-determination. I was also able to join celebrations in Brandon, Manitoba, which were co-hosted by the Manitoba Métis Federation.

The following day, our government introduced Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the establishment of a National Council for Reconciliation, in Parliament. When this Bill receives Royal Assent, it will enable the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 53 and 54, which calls for the establishment of a National Council for Reconciliation. It will also lay the foundation to address Calls to Action 55 and 56 that call for reports and data to be provided to inform an annual report to the Prime Minister for response.

I also traveled to the Northwest Territories with Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, where we met with a number of communities and partners in Yellowknife to discuss their priorities, including the significance of cultural spaces, the legacy of residential schools, and continuing the work to give land back. While in Inuvik, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of Inuit Nunangat, I attended the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee meeting to discuss the implementation of the Inuit Nunangat Policy, the importance of language revitalization, and other shared priorities with Inuit leadership. It was an opportunity to reaffirm our government’s commitment to work with Inuit leadership and communities, in the spirit of renewing our Inuit-Crown relationship. I visited the former residential school site of Grollier Hall, now a thriving greenhouse for the community of Inuvik. I finished my tour of the Northwest Territories by meeting with Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik of Gwich’in Tribal Council to announce the funding for the renovation of Gwich’in Wellness Camp to prioritize the needs of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

I then made my way to British Columbia, where I met with the Principals to the British Columbia Treaty Process to discuss the significant innovations in the Treaty process and addressed the Assembly of First Nations 43rd Annual General Assembly. During this tour, I celebrated the passing of Bill S-10 with shíshàlh Nation, which ensures their self-government legislation more accurately reflects their identity, and right to self-determination. Together, we also announced investments in housing infrastructure to support the development of a subdivision in the shíshàlh Nation, which will address critical housing needs for dozens of families. I also had the opportunity to visit the former site and memorial of St. Augustine’s Residential School and to hear of the work the community is undertaking to understand and heal from the institution’s legacy.

With Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations and the Government of British Columbia, I marked the signing of the transition to a Stage 5 Memorandum of Understanding, after having participated in a ground breaking ceremony for the Nation’s Bighouse project. To conclude my time in BC, I celebrated four First Nations’ education self-government agreements on Seabird Island, and toured the Tla’amin Nation to learn more about their infrastructure goals, as well as to highlight recent investments in the community.

On July 13-14, as head of the Canadian delegation, I met with the Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, at the 4th Session of the Trilateral Working Group to end Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls. Together with Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, our two countries will continue to share best practices to address the root causes of gender-based violence, and put an end to this ongoing crisis.

Later in July, in Chisasibi, Northern Quebec, I met with the Cree of Eeyou Istchee to learn more about the Cree Nation Housing Strategy and the work underway to provide more housing options to community members. I also visited the former Fort George Residential School where I met with Survivors and took part in the Mamoweedow celebrations centered on culture, language, and history of the community.

During a short stop in Saskatchewan for the 50th anniversary of the Back to Batoche Métis Days, I announced Budget 2022 housing investments for Métis to address urgent housing needs in their communities. I had the opportunity to spend time with Métis leaders, elders, and youth at the various activities and demonstrations throughout the festival showcasing traditional Métis culture, traditions and heritage.

The end of July also saw the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in Canada, and his personal apology to Indigenous Peoples for the abuses they experienced at residential schools by individuals of the Catholic Church. In Alberta and Nunavut, I was able to stand with Survivors and Indigenous leaders during this important moment in addressing some of our country’s most tragic and painful truths, and in supporting the healing process for many Indigenous Peoples and communities across Canada. I offered tobacco to the sacred fire at the site of the former Edmonton Residential School, as well as visited the grounds of the former St. Albert Residential School.

On August 2nd, I signed a historic Framework Agreement with Wood Mountain Lakota First Nation that will guide Canada and the First Nation in future discussions to advance reconciliation and advance the community’s self-determination, as we renew our nation-to-nation relationship. During my time in Regina, I visited the site of the former Regina Industrial Residential School, where I greeted Association members and decedents of former student Ernest Goforth. I was given the opportunity to learn how the Survivors, families, and communities are working to honour the students that did not return home from this school. The following day, I offered a formal apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to Chief Francis Dieter and community members of Peepeekisis Cree Nation for the harm, trauma, and significant loss in land, culture, and language experienced due to Canada’s role in the File Hills Colony Scheme.

On August 4th, I joined Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Chief Kelly Wolfe to announce the settlement of the 1919 Soldier Settlement Board Claim where Canada wrongfully took reserve land for veterans returning from the first world war. This marks a significant step forward in rebuilding our relationship, and rebuilding more than a century of lost trust.

After visiting Muskeg Lake, I spent four days in Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, where I had the pleasure of meeting and congratulating newly elected Chief Crookedneck of Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, as well as council members. I listened while they shared their visions and aspirations for their community. I spent the remainder of the time there on personal commitments.

On August 8th, my final day in Saskatchewan, I joined Chief Edwin Ananas of Beardy’s and Okemasis to announce the negotiated resolution of their Treaty Salaries Specific Claim. The resolution of long-standing historical grievances is essential to advance Canada’s relationship with Indigenous communities. Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation had specific rights under Treaty 6, which had not been respected by Canada for far too long.

I then travelled to Manitoba, from August 9th to 11th. During this time, I attended the Summit of Treaty Five Sovereign Nations’ summer gathering, and met with many leaders from the Treaty 5 territory, including Grand Chief Settee of the Manitoba Keewatinook Okimakinak. I had the opportunity to visit the Hudson Bay Building with Grand Chief Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization to learn more about the opportunities this new space will offer. On August 10th I visited Louis Riel’s grave with members of the Manitoba Métis Federation and announced their funding allocation from Budget 2022 to address housing priorities. I then visited the former Assiniboia Residential School to see firsthand where the commemorative monument is being developed. I met with Survivors to hear their stories, and to learn how they will honour the students who attended.

Also on August 10th, alongside Minister of Women and Gender Equality Marci Ien, I visited Velma’s House, a 24/7 safe space for women. This Indigenous-led initiative, supported by Ka Ni Kanichihk in collaboration with several community-based organizations, provides culturally-relevant and safe programs and services to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. We understand that Winnipeg is deeply impacted when it comes to the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and girls; that is why our government remains committed to supporting Velma’s House.

On August 11th, I was welcomed to Fisher River Cree Nation to announce funding for the Red Turtle Lodge Cultural Centre. Members of Fisher River Cree Nation will be able to gather, learn and share traditional practices, with a special focus to support the needs of women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

On August 29th alongside the Prime Minister, Survivors and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, we raised the Survivors’ Flag on Parliament Hill. This symbolic event honoured the memory of the thousands of children who were sent to residential schools and never returned, of the Survivors, their families and communities whose lives were forever changed.

Finally, from September 4th until the 7th, I visited Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert. During this time, I announced funding for the iit’l gudaad – We Remember Haida Heritage Plaza project with the Old Massett Village Council, and met with leadership of the Haida Nation and Metlakatla First Nation to discuss negotiation priorities and tour their territories together.

Our government acknowledges the painful impacts of well over 150 years of colonization and broken trust. Much of our work together with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities is aimed at advancing our shared goals and priorities, including implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. While much progress was made this summer, we know that there is a lot of work to be done. Part of this work resides in our pursuit of the truth, as painful as it is, and in our commitment to listening to Indigenous Peoples about their needs for change – for a better Canada, more inclusive and aware of Indigenous realities, for all generations.”

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Justine Leblanc
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
justine.leblanc@rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@sac-isc.gc.ca

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