WINNIPEG, May 11, 2012 /CNW/ - United Nations Special Rapporteur Mr. Olivier De Schutter will be in Treaty 1 Territory on the afternoon of May 11, 2012 with community site visits in Treaty 5 (Adhesion) to the north on May 12, 2012.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Derek Nepinak along with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper and Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Morris Swan-Shannacappo will be in attendance, and Grand Chief Diane Kelly from Treaty 3 has been invited to present at this very important meeting with the Special Rapporteur.
The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. De Schutter, is conducting an official mission to Canada on May 6 to 16, 2012. He is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country's situation or a specific human rights theme.
The focus of his mission to Canada is on: economic accessibility and impact of poverty on the adequacy of diets; Aboriginal Peoples and the right to food; governance of policies and programs that impact the right to food, including social protection programs; and international develop regarding the right to food.
This visit is a direct result of joint submission by AMC and Food Matters Manitoba to the National Coordinating Committee for the visit, which focused on remote food issues and Indigenous food issues. Over 40 submissions were received by the Committee from across Canada.
AMC will be hosting a leadership forum that includes participation from Chiefs, Elders, Women and Youth, who will make presentations to include solutions and recommendations with respect to the three elements of the Right to Food, including: (1) Availability; (2) Accessibility; and (3) Adequacy. Our lens will also include "Acceptability", which relates to culturally-appropriate food that does not compromise peoples' dignity, self-respect or human rights, and "Agency" which relates to policies and processes that enable the achievement of food security.
On the first day of visit, Mr. De Schutter and the delegate of First Nations leaders will be at Peguis First Nation for a site visit and a fly-over in the flood-affected First Nations communities in the Interlake area, including the First Nations of Lake St. Martin, Little Saskatchewan, and Pinaymootang. The delegates will then head to Sagkeeng First Nation for a traditional feast, ceremony and formal statement presentations from First Nations. On the second day plans include travel to the northern, remote, and isolated First Nations of the Manto Sipi Cree Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation and Wasagamack First Nation, which the Special Rapporteur has expressed a keen interest in visiting.
"We hope from this visit, Mr. De Schutter and ultimately the United Nations, will understand that Indigenous peoples of Manitoba and Canada have had their own systems of food generation, relying on traditional knowledge for harvesting, planting and consumption techniques, but over the last 100 years, federal Indian policy and provincial interference have disrupted and in some cases, devastating the tradition practices of First Nations in this country." says Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. "It has undoubtedly destroyed the control First Nations once held over their land and traditional agriculture, altering the diets of the Indigenous people of this country," Nepinak adds.
Because the United Nations media protocol for the Special Rapporteur is that, he cannot speak to the media about observations of the official mission until after the mission is complete, media will only be allowed to attend a photo op during the site visit at Peguis First Nation at 3 pm on Friday, May 11th.
AMC will gather video and still pictures of the entire event and will not be able to release any of the material or/until May 16th, once Mr. De Schutter is done is media briefings on that day.
For further information:
Sheila North Wilson
Chief Communications Officer, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
(204) 987-8450 office
(204) 799-4541 cell