Out with Colonialism and the Indian Act



    MONTREAL, Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec
and Labrador (AFNQL) is marking the 1rst anniversary of the adoption of the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by
participating in the Together for Aboriginal Rights! demonstration being held
in the streets of Montreal today.
    "It is important to seize the opportunity this anniversary offers to
expose the Canadian government's refusal to support this international
recognition of our fundamental rights," stresses Ghislain Picard, Chief of the
AFNQL.
    The AFNQL wishes to announce it will take active part in the next federal
election campaign without giving its support to any of the parties. It has
already sent letters clearly reiterating First Nations issues to all political
parties and their leaders.
    "First Nations will be very vocal in warning all political parties that
the status quo is no longer acceptable and that Canada's next government will
have to undertake an in-depth review of its Aboriginal policy, especially
regarding the Indian Act and its regime, which is more than ever totally
unacceptable. We are entitled to ask questions to party leaders and demand
clear and committed answers on their part," adds Chief Picard.
    First Nations have taken the first steps on the path towards their
ineluctable political, financial and legal autonomy. Because they have had it
with a colonial system that still endures 500 years after first contact with
the Europeans, First Nations, having never surrendered their rights over their
lands or access to their resources, are gradually regaining control over their
own destiny. In spite of governments' opposition and objections from a lot of
people, First Nations are working hard at implementing their inherent right to
self-government, which, incidentally, has been recognized for over 10 years.
    The action of First Nations' governments must extend far beyond the
findings. We have solutions, concrete actions to propose and path-breaking
means to carry them out that are all quite realistic and down-to-earth:

    
      - Recognizing First Nations' governments;

      - Entering into territorial, fiscal and financial agreements based on a
        government-to-government relationship;

      - Replacing the Indian Act with a First Nation Charter.
    




For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communications and Information
Officer, AFNQL, (418) 956-5720


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