The president of the NWT Métis Nation is applauding the federal government's decision to work towards implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The decision was made official Monday at the United Nations' headquarters in New York City, where Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced that the federal government will remove its permanent objector status to the declaration, first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.
Garry Bailey, president of the N.W.T. Metis Nation, says the move is a step in the right direction to improve intergovernmental relations damaged by the previous Conservative government, which opposed the declaration.
"In order to build relationships, I hope it means less court case[s]," said Bailey. "Like, no more having to go to court for what we need. I hope it fixes the Harper government's doings. You know, starting all over — reconciliation for the Aboriginal people.
"We are all optimistic with the new Trudeau government. I'm hoping that they do recognize Aboriginal people first, and listen from the grassroots level."
In the Northwest Territories, Bailey said that Indigenous groups do not get a fair share of the monetary benefits from resource development — something he hopes to see change with the declaration being implemented.
"It's going to take a lot of working together and agreeing together, even when it comes to developing the North," he said. "We have to agree to move these developments forward together and then that [will] be a sound mind that it is going to be safe. And we all benefit together as well."
Bennett said that the declaration will be implemented in the spirit of reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous peoples. She was short on specific details Monday, but said an official announcement would be coming Tuesday.