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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Before I was elected, I had 10 years of representing the hereditary chiefs in the Atlantic, the Mi'kmaw community. I'm not quite sure what the motion speaks to, but in terms of hereditary chiefs, there are a number in Canada that are still active.
One of the things, though, I would caution about.... I would like to see the text and have a thorough debate on what we're including in this, because we could have a deep dive into the history of hereditary chiefs, hereditary structures, and how colonization has changed that over the years, but I don't think we would be any closer to addressing the issue.
My discussions with the national chief and the regional chief from B.C., as well as some of the hereditary chiefs, were concerned with the frustration and the lack of implementation of treaty and inherent rights.
One of the things I've proposed is looking at a mechanism by which we can resolve that. We have a federal government that has an attorney general that represents their rights. We have a provincial government that has an attorney general that represents their rights. The indigenous people don't have that right now.
What has been called for by AFN and by treaty commissioners across Canada is a large look at what we can do to create a mechanism to create implementation and awareness of treaties and inherent rights.
This is something we have put in the treaty commission that we have already passed. I think that one of the things that would serve this committee well is, as part of that treaty commission discussion, to ensure that we are also calling hereditary chiefs and hearing from them on the basis of seeking solutions, rather than just looking at the history and creating more information about these groups.
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