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September 6, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is deeply concerned about recent developments involving CBC Manitoba and the Vote Compass platform, which have chosen to make First Nations Inherent Rights a matter of public debate. The AMC firmly asserts that First Nations’ Inherent Rights are not a subject for public debate, but rather a matter of fundamental justice and recognition that must be upheld.
“It is disheartening to witness media outlets and educational platforms, like CBC Manitoba and Vote Compass, taking a stance that not only undermines the dignity and sovereignty of First Nations but also perpetuates stereotypes and misunderstandings about us and also our Inherent Rights,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The Inherent Rights of First Nations are bestowed to First Nations from Creator. More recently, our Inherent Rights continue to be affirmed in various legal and international instruments, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and are not up for public opinion or debate, especially in a provincial election.”
The Inherent Rights of First Nations include the right to self-determination, the right to land and resources, the right to govern, and the right to practice and protect our cultures, languages, and traditions. These rights are not negotiable and cannot be subjected to public opinion polls or discussions undermining their significance.
The AMC calls on CBC Manitoba and the creators of Vote Compass to immediately address this issue by publicly acknowledging the error in making First Nations’ Inherent Rights a subject of public debate. We urge them to rectify this situation by providing correct information for voters that accurately follows the jurisdictional limitations of the province.
We also call on all media outlets and platforms to recognize their responsibility in fostering correct and responsible public discourse about First Nations. Sensationalizing or trivializing matters of First Nations’ Inherent Rights perpetuates harm and contributes to the ongoing marginalization and discrimination faced by our people in Canada.
“Our Treaties represent solemn obligations between First Nations and the Crown, reflecting a unique and enduring relationship. As such, Treaties and First Nations’ Inherent Rights, such as access to resource-based revenue or repatriating the remains of our relatives, transcend provincial jurisdiction, and matters of this relationship cannot be delineated to any political grouping outside of First Nations themselves,” said Grand Chief Merrick.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs remains committed to working collaboratively with all parties involved to ensure that First Nations Inherent Rights are respected, protected, and upheld per international law and standards. We will continue to advocate for the rights and dignity of First Nations Peoples and seek to raise awareness about the significance of these rights among all Canadians.
For more information, please contact:
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs