The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is changing its name, and Chief Dwight Dorey is touring the country to introduce Metis, non-status Indians and First Nations people living off reserve to the group's work.
The organization will now be called the Indigenous Peoples' Assembly of Canada, Dorey announced last week in Ottawa before taking his "grassroots engagement tour" to Thunder Bay, Ont., on Tuesday.
Dorey said he aims to represent the 70 per cent of indigenous people in Canada who live off-reserve and fall between the cracks of government responsibilities.
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"The federal government has taken the position that if you're an indigenous person living off the reserve then you're living in provincial jurisdiction," Dorey said. "On the other hand, the provinces have taken a different view that if you're an indigenous person, you're a federal responsibility."
The Harry Daniels case, currently before the Supreme Court should clarify which level of government is responsible for programs and services for Metis and non-status Indians, Dorey said.
'Don't start excluding us'
Dorey's group was recently left out of climate change talks with the Prime Minister and premiers in Vancouver.
It's a snub he hopes won't happen again.
"I'm hoping the next time around, we will be there," Dorey said. "The Congress is the voice for over 1 million people living off-reserve in this country...don't start excluding us now."
The cross-Canada tour has already made stops in Manitoba and Alberta, and moves on to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday.
Dorey said he's hearing a lot of common concerns about the difficulties indigenous peoples have in finding housing and employment across the country.