First Nation leaders seek meeting with Queen
Chiefs met with Prince Charles in Toronto
First Nation leaders who met with Prince Charles on Tuesday say they want to meet with the Queen next year to discuss Canada's treaties.
Ovide Mercredi, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was one of several representatives who met with Charles at Toronto's Royal York Hotel.
Mercredi said they discussed the relationship between Canada's aboriginal peoples and the Crown, which has been based on treaties.
"We made a request today to have the Queen receive us, all the chiefs of Canada, to deal with treaties with the Crown in October 7, 2013, which is the anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763," he told CBC News after the meeting.
Issued by King George III, the Royal Proclamation established British recognition of native treaty rights, declaring that unceded lands be reserved to Indians.
Only a representative of the British Crown had the right to purchase those lands from them, and only at a public assembly, according to the historic document.
Mercredi said chiefs want to discuss why Canada has not honoured those treaties in the years since the proclamation was signed.
Charles has agreed to pass on the message to the Queen, Mercredi said.
"We were quite impressed with Prince Charles in terms of his understanding of the issues that we face here in this country," Mercredi said of the prince.
"He clearly understood the importance of having the treaties upheld by Canada."
Grand Chief David Harper of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), which represents most First Nations in northern Manitoba, said the issues he wanted to discuss with Charles included education, child welfare and missing and murdered aboriginal women.
"I was very honoured to be given that privilege, to [be] given that time and also to present a very sacred symbol," Harper said before meeting the prince.
Harper presented Charles with an eagle feather, which is "one of the highest honours that is given to any individual," he said.