OTTAWA, April 14, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today's Supreme Court of Canada decision in Daniels v Canada is yet another example that colonial laws like the Indian Act are collapsing and First Nations and Canada must build a renewed nation-to-nation relationship.
"Today's decision is yet another sign that colonial laws are crumbling," said National Chief Bellegarde. "It is time to build a renewed nation-to-nation relationship founded on inherent and Treaty rights as recognized in Canada's Constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As nations exercising our right to self-determination, we will continue to rebuild our own vision of citizenship and belonging, based on our traditions, kinship systems and laws."
The Daniels case examined whether the federal government has jurisdiction over the Métis, non-status Indians or both under section 91(24) of the 1867 Constitution Act. The AFN was an intervenor in the case and argued that the federal government cannot unilaterally define the term "Indian" under s. 91(24) whether collectively or individually.
National Chief Bellegarde stated, "Today's decision allows First Nations to welcome back the citizens previously lost under colonial laws and policies. The decision should help remove barriers to progress and break down the old colonial thinking. A new nation-to-nation relationship based on rights and respect is an essential part of reconciliation, and good for all of Canada."
The Supreme Court decision finds that Métis and non-status Indians fall under federal jurisdiction under section 91(24). The decision also finds that First Nations have a unique relationship with the Crown (Canada). The AFN will be examining the full implications of the decision closely and National Chief Bellegarde will move to meet with the federal government in the near future.
The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
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