First Nations File Urgent Action CERD Submission against Canada

Media Release (09/11/2018) – In August 2018, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, O’Chiese First Nation and Tsuu T’ina Nation filed an urgent action against the state of Canada’s “Reconciliation Agenda” to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Nations told members of CERD that Canada continues to expedite plans to create legislation designed to deny our rights to lands and resources all without our consent.

In February 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the development of a new and transformative Indigenous Rights, Recognition and Implementation Framework which is designed to incorporate our Nations into the fabric of Canada. In this process our rights as Indigenous Peoples will be destroyed by the use of the legal system of the colonial state of Canada. “The announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau came as a shock to the Nations”, said Ermineskin Chief Craig Makinaw.

There has been no process of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) contrary to the recommendations of CERD in September 2017 that our rights to FPIC must be respected by the state.

Tsuu T’ina Council member Regina Crowchild added that “there were no previous discussions or any process with the Treaty Nations prior to the announcement”. Despite numerous requests, the details and structural changes proposed are scarce. The immediate damage to our Nations by ongoing process developed without our free, prior and informed consent will affect our relationship to the environmental, economic, social, emotional, psychological, cultural and spiritual impact on the well-being of our Peoples.

Canada is selecting to engage organizations without any clear and transparent process to involve the rights holders – our Nations and our Peoples. These organizations are not rights holders. They have no ability to consent on our behalf. As Treaty Peoples who made international treaties with the British Crown to allow for peaceful settlement in our territories, the present process brings no honour or respect to the rule of law.

In light of the deteriorating situation in Canada, the Treaty Peoples have tried many ways to open a dialogue with the State. We have written letters and provided materials to the state without any concrete response. The Minister in charge of this project announced February 2018, the intention to proceed with the legislation in the fall of 2018.

As part of our urgent action CERD submission we appealed to the members of the Committee to consider sending a member or members of the Committee to Canada to observe and monitor the Federal Government implementation of international standards with the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, O’Chiese First Nation and Tsuu T’ina Nation; and that Canada immediately halt their legislative agenda until such time as they engage in a process that recognizes the right of free, prior and informed consent of the Treaty Peoples of the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, O’Chiese First Nation and Tsuu T’ina Nation.

For more information please contact:

Tara Cutarm
Ermineskin Communications
E: [email protected]
P: 780-360-5756

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