STOP the Rights Framework
Canada was built on its relationship with First Peoples and Nations. Rather than engage in protracted warfare, it was agreed that peaceful co-existence was the best approach to living side-by-side with First Peoples on Turtle Island. As a result, the process of international treaty making was chosen as the path to peace. Over the years successive Canadian governments abandoned the treaty-making process in favor of doctrine of discovery, terra nullius, and genocide to remove First Peoples from their lands. The Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework (the Rights Framework) is a continuation of Canada’s colonial legacy
The Federal Rights Framework
The Government of Canada gave full support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and committed to do a law and policy review that would bring all of Canada’s laws inline with UNDRIP principles. Unfortunately, this commitment was not followed through with. Instead, Canada developed 10 Principles without participation or input from First Nation peoples. These Principles are called 10 Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples. These Principles are threat to our inherent rights, given to us from Creation.
Canada did not come to the table to negotiate with us, rather they met with certain people and groups, ignored any advice given, and acted on their own direction. The result of this is...
THE FEDERAL RECOGNITION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS FRAMEWORK
(THE RIGHTS FRAMEWORK)
ON & OFF THE TABLE
As the Indian Act is replaced, Indigenous self-governing bodies will take over certain jurisdictions currently under federal and provincial control. However, authority over these jurisdictions will only be transferred after very long negotiations with Canada, and the price First Nations have to pay will be extremely high.
First Nations who agree to enter into a ‘self-government agreement’ will have authority delegated to them by the central government and would be subject to the Canadian Constitution (4th order of government, similar to a municipality). This is not full sovereignty, making it impossible to have a true nation-to-nation relationship or exercise true self-determination. In other words, Canada is using promises of funding and authority as bait for First Peoples into signing away their traditional territory, Aboriginal title, inherent rights, treaties, and status as nations.
10 Principles Analysis
In 2016, Canada gave its unqualified support for the United Nations Declaration Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and announced that it would set the minimum standard for a review of Canada’s laws and policies. Unfortunately, this commitment was never fulfilled, as UNDRIP principles were replaced by Canada’s 10 Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
A deeper look at the 10 Principles document shows that Canada will continue to deny the inherent rights of First Peoples and Nations. Principle 4 motions towards “cooperative federalism” and suggests that Indigenous peoples should be integrated into Canada’s constitutional framework. Principle 6 states the Crown will “consult and cooperate in good faith with the aim of securing their free, prior and informed consent.” Aiming to secure consent is not the same as free, prior, and informed consent, and amounts to little more than consultation. Finally, Principle 7 makes it clear that infringement of Aboriginal rights will continue, as it already does, even in the face of First Nation community opposition.
13 PRINCIPLES OF KINDNESS, RESPECT AND SHARING
In response to Canada’s unilaterally developed 10 Principles document, AIAI developed a set of 13 Principles that outline what a nation-to-nation relationship with Canada would look like from an Indigenous perspective. The 13 Principles were confirmed by consensus at the 2018 AIAI Annual General Assembly and were supported by Chiefs of Ontario resolution no. 32/18. These principles were derived from the inherent and unextinguished rights and jurisdictions of First Peoples and Nations and highlight the international status of the relationship with Canada.
To move forward, new joint principles of understanding must be developed bilaterally with Canada, and the 10 Principles document must be set aside. Canada has a duty, based on the honour of the Crown, to negotiate with First Peoples and Nations on mutually agreeable terms. It is time for Canada to meet us on equal ground, put an end to their deceitful tactics, and accept the reality of true reconciliation.
First Nations inherent rights and jurisdictions are protected by various international laws, covenants, conventions, treaties, and charters. It is important to note that international law recognizes the rights of First Peoples and Nations but did not create them – our rights are inherent and have existed since time immemorial.
An important right protected by international law is that of self-determination or, in other words, First Nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference. This right is protected by the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
According to international law, treaties signed by First Peoples and Nations are legally binding international agreements and must be kept by those who signed them or their successors (the Government of Canada).