Harper Resetting Relationship with First Nations
On Monday, the day before Harper’s speech, a B.C. native leader warned that if Harper doesn’t give a clear indication in his meeting with aboriginal leaders that he’s prepared to take their concerns seriously, “an aboriginal uprising is [would be] inevitable”, just like the Arab Spring-style uprising.
On January 24th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a gathering of First Nations chiefs that he will “reset the relationship” between government and the aboriginal community in Canada. Harper first stated that,”Certainly in the past lack of trust on both sides has held us back.”
Stephan Harper told those at the summit in Ottawa that the Indian Act would be modernized to help build a healthier relationship between the government and Canada’s aboriginal community,but the Indian Act will not be demolished.To build this relationship, Harper said that co-operation on numerous levels is necessary,so First Nations will be fully incorporated into the country’s economy.
Harper also mentioned that it is important to learn from the past and focus on the future. He said Canada’s relationship with First Nations had been tainted by events like the Indian residential school system which was “an explicit attempt to destroy Aboriginal culture.” He also added that,”Every relationship has its ups and downs, moments of consensus and of disagreement. I believe it is important to build a narrative of any relationship based on its highest points”, mentioning the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which forms the basis of Aboriginal rights in the Constitution, and the War of 1812 where First Nations allied with the British.”We all need to move forward. So let us be willing partners.” Harper added.
Stephan Harper said his government has made numerous ways to improve the relationship with the First nations, such as the apology for residential schools, the processing of land claims and the extending the full protection of the Canadian Human Rights Act. May the relationship with Canada and the First Nations prosper.
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Read here for the First Nation point of view of this event
Click here to read my response on this event
“After aboriginal Uprising Warning, Stephen Harper Says Time Has Come to Reset the aaaaaaaaaRelationship.” National Post. 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 03 June 2012.
“Harper Declares new Day in Relationship with First Nations.” Aboriginal Peoples aaaaaaaaaTelevision Network, 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 03 June 2012.