'Nation to Nation'? Indigenous people and the Trudeau government

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Liberals have continued on with the colonial attitude towards indigenous people. Trudeau speaks with a forked tongue.


The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has refused funding from the federal government because it doesn’t accept donations from funders that harm children.

Canada didn’t pass the society’s “ethical screen” and it has declined $149,000 in funding from Indigenous Affairs said executive director Cindy Blackstock.

“We don’t accept funds from groups that are harming children or who are violating Indigenous rights,” Blackstock told APTN National News Thursday. “Their conduct falls outside of our ethical screen to receive funds from donors.”

Blackstock’s comments come on the one year anniversary of a historical ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that found Canada guilty of discriminating against First Nations children by chronically underfunding programs and services compared to non-Indigenous children.

Since that ruling, the tribunal has issued two non-compliance orders against Indigenous Affairs for failing to meet standards set by the tribunal said Blackstock, who first launched the human rights complaint nearly 10 years ago, along with the Assembly of First Nations.

The tribunal has called for a compliance hearing to be heard in March.

“I am extremely disappointed in this government,” said Blackstock. “They’ve read the decision, so they know the answers are there. They’ve seen a half billion dollars announced for the birthday party (Canada’s 150th birthday). So they know there’s money out there somewhere. There just seems to be a lack of political and bureaucratic will to get the job done.”

The government has responded in affidavits filed Wednesday to the tribunal it’s provided nearly three quarters of the $71 million earmarked for 2016 for the First Nations Child and Family Services program (FNCFSP). It’s part of $634.8 million funding over five years announced in last year’s budget for FNCFSP. That funding was decided upon before the tribunal made its ruling said Blackstock.

She also said at least $10 million of that stayed in Indigenous Affairs for various costs associated with providing the funding to groups across the country.



kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Canadian governments of all stripes have failed in their relationship with indigenous peoples in this country. Trudeau says nice things and plays dress-up as an Indian while he implements the same inadequate strategy as Harper before him.


Article 1 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Some days, I wake up and I put on my T-shirt that says ROGUE across the front in bright NDP-orange letters because I wake up in a society where I am expected to remain quiet, obedient and, most of all, grateful to a colonial government that even in the 21st century paternalistically denies Indigenous Peoples our rights under the premise that they know best. I am expected to be thankful for temporary, piecemeal measures to remedy crimes that the Canadian government has, and continues to, commit against my people. I am expected to wait patiently for meaningful legislative changes that will end the colonial occupancy of our Indigenous legal, economic and social systems.  This society expects me to happily accept the mere pennies that they invest in funding our social services. Welcome to our dystopian present.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Shacks, bullying and unemployment: Why isn’t #Article23 working for Nunavummiut?

Article 23 was written into the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement for one reason, to ensure that Nunavummiut had a chance at jobs in the territory.

The goal is to have 85 per cent of the jobs held by Inuit.

But somewhere, something went wrong.

APTN Investigates.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Indigenous water solutions: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Cleaning up drinking water in Indigenous communities appears to be a case of two steps forward, one step back, according to new government numbers.

There are 71 long-term drinking water advisories — in existence for a year or more — in First Nations communities across Canada.

Since November 2015, 18 such warnings have been lifted, allowing the communities to drink their tap water.

But 12 advisories have been added, according to figures provided by the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. 

It's an example of the complex, tough task facing the Trudeau government, which has pledged to have all long-term drinking water advisories lifted within five years.


Federal bureaucracy

Many First Nations communities complain that it takes too long — from five to 10 years — to solve drinking water problems. They blame a cumbersome federal bureaucracy.

Bennett admits that one of her tasks is to simplify the process.

As the opposition critic, she heard from many communities that thought they were about to get a new water treatment system, only to find out the government had decided to order another feasibility study, delaying everything.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Millions promised for Indigenous kids is subsidizing mining companies, internal documents show

Carolyn Bennett's story isn't adding up.

Despite sunny rhetoric suggesting they're taking a different approach towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the Trudeau government is having a hard time backing up its word.

In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett boasted that the federal government was spending "almost $200 million" on the well-being of Indigenous children.

Not only is there no evidence​ Canada is spending $200 million, but internal documents obtained through Access to Information by York University's Anna Stanley and reviewed by PressProgress suggest money Bennett claims to be earmarked for the well-being of Indigenous children is being spent to "attract mining investment" instead....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Evidence of good faith lacking in Trudeau’s Indigenous agenda


The much-referenced nation-to-nation relationship has also failed to materialize. Trudeau’s government instead focuses all their discussions with three national Aboriginal organizations and not First Nations — the actual rights holders. We no longer hear discussion about Aboriginal, treaty and title rights except in court. Trudeau rejected the AFN’s call to have constitutional talks to better define First Nation rights and the nation-to-nation relationship — calling such discussions “squabbles.”

While Trudeau did ensure that work on the national inquiry began early on in his term, the actual creation of the inquiry was delayed, Indigenous peoples were excluded from drafting the terms of reference or choosing the commissioners. While a big flashy announcement was made in the fall of 2016 to start the inquiry, it still hasn’t started and likley won’t until spring 2017. With a limited two year mandate, the loss of six months could significantly impact the effectiveness of such an important inquiry.

We gave Trudeau’s government more than a year to put some good faith on the table. Instead, we see a lot of talk but very little substantive action on the matters that matter most to us. If our right to free, informed and prior consent before development on our lands is not respected, that is the equivalent of breaching our Aboriginal, treaty and title rights. If he can ignore multiple court orders to stop discriminating against our children in care, how does that make him any different from Harper?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

By Anglican Church of Canada


There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.