Yukon's self-governing First Nations pleased after meeting with Trudeau
Forum in Ottawa on Wednesday brought together Indigenous leaders from across Canada
Yukon Indigenous leaders are calling Wednesday's meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's self-governing First Nations a success.
The Modern Treaty and Self-governing First Nations Forum in Ottawa brought together leaders from across Canada, to talk about some of the challenges in implementing their self-government agreements.
Most Yukon First Nations — 11 of 14 — have negotiated land claims and self-government agreements, and several Yukon leaders went to Ottawa for the forum.
Trondëk Hwëch'in Chief Roberta Joseph says federal policies are sometimes at odds with self-government agreements, and that can give rise to legal disputes.
She says Wednesday's meeting was about finding ways to avoid problems, partly by reminding Ottawa that self-governing First Nations are not subject to the Indian Act, and require a different relationship.
"Although there are only 26 modern day treaties and self-governing First Nations, we cover almost half the land in Canada," she said.
"We strongly feel that our treaties need to have more attention paid to [them], because of the large scale of land that we are responsible for."
'A self-governing world'
Peter Johnston, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, said it was a successful meeting and that Trudeau's commitment to do it annually was "historic".
"I think the opportunity to kind of tell our story, from a self-government perspective from the Yukon, was important," he said.
"At the end of the day, there's obviously inequities between Indian Act and self-governance. So the reality going forward is going to be a self-governing world, right? And that's what we have to help stress."
In a statement on Wednesday, Trudeau called modern treaties and self-government agreements, "reconciliation in action."
"We know that our national journey to reconciliation requires systemic changes that recognize the right to advance self-determination and self-government," the statement reads.
Working w/ Modern Treaty & Self-Governing <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FirstNations?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FirstNations</a> on collaboration, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/reconciliation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#reconciliation</a>, and to advance shared priorities. <a href="https://t.co/YTynSVJSe0">pic.twitter.com/YTynSVJSe0</a>—@Min_CIRNA
With files from Mike Rudyk