I know you are eager for word of the meeting today. The Prime Minister was in attendance and stayed the entire time. Also present from the government were Minister Duncan, Minister Clement, Minister Aglukkaq and Parliamentary Secretary Rickford, along with Deputy Ministers and PMO staff.
I delivered the eight key areas of action that emerged from the dialogue facilitated by Regional Chiefs Wilson-Raybould and Bellegarde this week. First Nation leaders brought forward tough messages, and noted the demand for change expressed by First Nation citizens all across the country. They also made it clear they would not be drawn into a programmatic discussion and did not want to waste time going over rhetorical ground or listening to a number of statements from ministers.
At the end of the meeting the Prime Minister committed to a process for high-level talks on Treaty Implementation and discussions on comprehensive claims, as well as conceding the need for highest level political oversight out of his office and PCO oversight of matters related to the relationship with First Nations. He also gave initial feedback on the other areas of action First Nations had put forward which will require further analysis and strategies.
We have achieved movement and it is seems the door has been opened for some progress in these areas. However, we need to do the hard work on our side to make this progress happen. Work will need to start immediately with Treaty leadership on how they wish to move forward on these high-level talks now that a clear mandate has been expressed. Similarly, a process needs to be put in place on comprehensive claims.
We will follow-up first thing next week on this planning so that we can all contribute to this work going forward.
I want to reiterate: I respect all voices - those in the room and those outside.
We are diverse and we must continue in respect of one another to drive forward the work of implementing our rights and protecting our lands, waters and achieve change for our peoples. It is absolutely certain that the voices of our people will not be silenced
The list of First Nations representatives at the meeting in addition to myself follows:
Regional Chief Wilson-Raybould
Regional Chief Ghislain Picard
Regional Chief Mike Smith
Regional Chief Roger Augustine
Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come
Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead
Grand Chief Craig Mackinaw
Grand Chief Ed John
Chief Roland Twinn
Chief Norma Johnstone
Chief George Ginnish
Chief Deborah Robinson
Chief Marcel Head
Chief Terrance Paul
Chief Leo Omani
Chief Douglas White
Chief Eric Fairclough
Sasha Maracle, National Youth Council
Elder Bertha Commonda