Indigenous-Crown Relations | Pre-election Breakfast Series

On, April 2, 2019, the Max Bell School of Public Policy and Policy Options hosted an event on Indigenous-Crown relations at the Rideau Club in Ottawa

The panel included Marilyn Slett, Hayden King and Brock Pitawanakwat. It was moderated by Jennifer Ditchburn and introduced by Gilbert Whiteduck. 

Each panelist brought their perspective on reconciliation efforts in the context of evolving First Nations-Crown relations. 

On the Canadian government's approach to the nation to nation relationship and reconciliation

Hayden King, director at the Yellowhead Institute, argued that the Canadian government's approach to the the nation to nation relationship and reconciliation was dissapointing.

"The [Liberal] government wanted to create a piece of legislation that once and for all addressed self-government and the Nation to Nation relationship. And ultimately it failed because it didn't read the room," said King. 

On the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous communities 

"We spoke about good faith in negotiation and who we are as Heiltsuk Peoples," recounted elected chief of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council K̓ÁWÁZIⱢ (Marilyn Slett) as she explained how her community organizes to discuss complex issues of social disparities and jurisdiction over territories. 

On the current state of Indigenous-Crown relations

Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate professor and program coordinator of Indigenous Studies in York University’s Department of Equity Studies, broke down the reasons for frustration with the current state of the Indigenous-Crown relations and the lack of improvement for Indigenous peoples. 

"One of the impediments to seeing the relationship [improve], is the charitable notion of how Indigenous should be managed. Rather than a real sharing of lands and resources [...], it is much easier to break off crumbs and given them to us," warned Pitawanakwat.

Watch the full event 

The full event examined indigenous-crown relations and answered the following questions:

  • As the next election approaches, how much meaningful change has actually occurred in this critically important policy area?
  • Has there been movement forward in fundamental areas such as restoring Indigenous land and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
  • What is the state of indigenous-crown relations?

You can watch the full event below. 

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