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Introduction to Consultation of Indigenous Peoples

Canada’s Constitution Act (1982) recognized and affirmed existing Indigenous and treaty rights. In doing so, a chain of events was set in motion:

  • Indigenous rights, denied since Canada’s confederation needed full expression;
  • Neglected relationships between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples needed to be strengthened or redefined;
  • Dismantled Indigenous infrastructures needed to be rebuilt and included into Canada; and,
  • Canada needed to understand and respect Indigenous cultures it denied for over 150 years.

Unfortunately, the entire fabric of Canada was built upon a policy of forced Aboriginal assimilation. This policy in turn was based on what we now know to be profound racism towards Indigenous Peoples.1 This racism is illustrated by a quote from testimony given before the Special Committee of the House of Commons examining the Indian Act amendments of 1920,

“Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department2...”

Canada adopted many laws whose goals were,

“ the piecemeal but complete destruction of distinct social and political entities within the broader Canadian community ... the continuous and deliberate subversion of Indigenous nations — groups whose only offence was their wish to continue living in their own communities and evolving in accordance with their own traditions, laws and aspirations.”1

Since the 1982 Constitution Act came into force until the writing of this page and its sister documents:

  • There has been no government initiative to screen legislation, regulation, services and programs to remove barriers that deny sovereign Immemorial rights and the international right to self-determination in Canada. [There was an initiative commenced in 2018 to screen for Aboriginal rights but these rights are rights granted by the Crown that exclude the full rights of Indigenous peoples];
  • Canada has not introduced legislation to protect or empower Indigenous sovereignty and their international right to self-determination; and,
  • Canada has consistently fought the realization of Indigenous Immemorial rights and Indigenous sovereignty over Indigenous land, resources and people using the Canadian judicial system.

There is an alternative to the continued assimilation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. That alternative is Meaningful Consultation. Meaningful Consultation provides the process Canada needs to move forward with the recognition of Indigenous rights and reconciliation with Indigenous sovereignty.

This section of the website is meant as an overview and guide to develop and embark on Meaningful Consultation processes for distinct Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

1. (1996) Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Volume 1: Looking Forward Looking Back. Part Two: False Assumptions and a Failed Relationship. Chapter 13, Conclusions. Canada Communication Group — Publishing, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0S9.

2. (1920) Duncan Campbell Scott, deputy superintendent general of Indian affairs, testimony before the Special Committee of the House of Commons examining the Indian Act amendments of 1920, National Archives of Canada, Record Group 10, volume 6810, file 470-2-3, volume 7, pp. 55 (L-3) and 63 (N-3).

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