'A journey with a clear destination' - Macleans.ca

‘A journey with a clear destination’

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Shawn Atleo, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, says it’s time to move toward scrapping the Indian Act and dumping the recently renamed Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Here is his speech to AFN’s general assembly in Moncton yesterday.

Advancing the First Nation Crown relationship means progress through steps like the First Nation-Crown Gathering, First Ministers meetings with First Nations and a potential First Nation-Crown agreement that advances and affirms our rights. We need new fiscal relationships built on common, mutually acceptable principles that guarantee and deliver sustainable, equitable services based on mutually agreed-to standards. We must implement our governments through building our institutions, planning and accountability mechanisms and finally we must drive structural change.

This is change that must first affirm First Nation jurisdiction, must include careful legal review and analysis and then advance structural changes to the machinery of the federal government. Right now, the bureaucracy and its policies are failing miserably. We need new structures that affirm the relationship and uphold the responsibility.

The AFN report that sets out this vision is here.