Indigenous leaders call for meaningful Duty to Consult during day of action

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations Betty Nippi-Albright hosted a Day of Action with Indigenous leaders from Nekaneet First Nation, Yellow Quill First Nation, Waterhen Lake First Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Carry The Kettle First Nation, Key First Nation and the residential school support team from Yorkton Tribal Council. Together, they continue to draw attention to the Sask. Party government’s disregard for the Duty to Consult process. 

“Indigenous peoples in this province are done with the trinkets and beads. They’re done with being ignored. They’re done with the empty platitudes and lip service. It’s time that they are engaged as true partners. It’s time for a meaningful Duty to Consult process,” said Nippi-Albright. “Consultation should not just be a box to be checked. This is about respect.”

Last year, the Sask. Party rolled out a new Duty to Consult framework without meaningfully engaging First Nations and Métis communities. Only 31% of First Nations and only 38% of Métis locals were consulted on the framework. 

At the Legislature, Indigenous leaders expressed concerns that the Sask. Party government’s ‘consultation’ was not a meaningful two-way conversation. It relied heavily on email or online surveys, as opposed to respectfully consulting with Inherent and Treaty Rights Holders in their own communities.

“Indigenous people would not be driving all the way to Regina to have their voices heard if they had experienced meaningful two-way dialogue with this government,” said Nippi-Albright. “Indigenous people are done being ignored by this Sask. Party government.”

MLA Nippi-Albright has twice attempted to codify the government’s Duty to Consult obligations into law with private member’s bills. If the Sask. Party had not voted down her legislation, Indigenous communities would, by law, have had a say in how consultation occurs and with whom it would occur. 

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