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NOTHING ABOUT US, WITHOUT US” FIRST NATIONS MUST BE FULLY INCLUDED IN TOMORROW’S FIRST MINISTERS MEETING ON HEALTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Gatineau, QC (Dec 8, 2016)  --- Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, chair of the Assembly Of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs Committee on Health and co-chair of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Environment and Climate Change, is calling upon Canada to include Indigenous leadership at tomorrow’s First Minister’s Meeting.

“A true nation-to-nation relationship, which is in line with both the federal government’s commitments and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, includes the full participation of Indigenous governments,” said Regional Chief Day. “The current deplorable health conditions of far too many of our Peoples, and our current lack of involvement and influence in environmental decisions, are all directly related to the top-down, paternalistic, colonial approach that has been perpetuated by successive federal and provincial governments.

“We have committed to be in a new era of Reconciliation, and we have seen very positive messages and commitments from both Ontario and Canada in the past year. However, First Nations have yet to achieve that break-through to being treated as equal partners in this country. Tomorrow, we will be invited to a pre-FMM meeting, but our leaders will still be locked out from the real decision making. In terms of both health and climate change, First Nations are the most vulnerable segment of Canadian society. We also have much to offer in terms of concrete plans to improve both the health of our Peoples, and the health of our Mother Earth.

“When Canada’s Constitution was repatriated in 1982, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau stated: ‘I speak of a Canada where men and women of aboriginal ancestry, of French and British heritage, of the diverse cultures of the world, demonstrate the will to share this land in peace, in justice, and with mutual respect.’ Now is the time to respect those words. There will be no reconciliation without total inclusion.”

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