Canadians around the nation marched in solidarity against Harper government’s bill C-45.
Here in the NWT, a dozen people braved the cold on Monday for the Idle No More march in Yellowknife.
“This legislation represents another attempt by the Canadian state to undermine Indigenous sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations people.”
A group called the Concerned Dene of Denendeh say Bill C-45 is a violation of treaty rights.
Melaw Nakehk’o is a part of that group. With the help of an online and local community, she helped bring the Idle No More march to Yellowknife.
“We’re in solidarity with the rest of the First Nation’s people in Canada and just to get the word out and education our people in the north to stand up for our rights and for our treaty rights.”
Nakehk’o says the regions in the NWT who have settled land claims are progressing towards self-determination. But she says that’s not the case across the territory.
“I’m from the Dehcho region and we still have to settle our land claims. Bills like this directly affect those types of processes. I just think that we need to be on an equal level. The playing field needs to be equal between Canada and our First Nations communities in coming to terms with what First Nations people need.”
This community member echo’s that sentiment:
“Our people are walking around homeless without jobs, without homes, without the basic needs. And we have to struggle, we have to fight, we always have to scream and yell at the government. But when they want to spend our money, they don’t consult us at all.”
First Nations people across Canada say the federal bill was passed without proper consultation and this concerned youth says she hopes Harper government is listening to their voices.
“These treaties are protected under fiduciary obligation and the Harper government has no right to come and just try to remove them.”
Bill C-45 makes changes to the Fisheries Act, on-reserve land management, the streamlining process, and Navigable Waters Act. It also cuts funding to Tribal Councils, Aboriginal Representative Organizations, aboriginal education, and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Iman Kassam / CKLB News