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Video: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act

Description

This event features a panel discussion with First Nations, Inuit and Métis experts as well as senior federal government officials who will provide an overview of both the Declaration and the UN Declaration Act with a focus on their role in providing a framework for reconciliation.

Duration: 02:10:48
Published: September 8, 2022
Code: IRA1-V51

Event: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act


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Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act

Transcript

Transcript

Transcript: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act

[The CSPS logo appears on screen]

[Valerie Gideon appears on screen]

Valerie Gideon, Indigenous Services Canada: Good day everyone. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for this wonderful event on Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act. It's a pleasure to welcome you and thank you for taking the time to participate in this very important event with our Indigenous Peoples partners in Canada. We have a really great session that includes representatives from the federal system today. My name is Valerie Gideon. I'm the Associate Deputy Minister for Indigenous Services Canada. My name is Valerie Gideon. I'm the associate at Indigenous Services Canada and I'm Mi'kmaq from the beautiful Gesgapegiag First Nation, Mi'kmaq from the Quebec region. Before we begin, I'd like to acknowledge that I'm on the beautiful traditional unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. And I want to thank all of the many generations of the Algonquin peoples for enabling me to just live my life here with my wonderful family. It has been truly a privilege. We have a great discussion planned today. I have a couple of housekeeping items just before we start. The session today will be offered in a bilingual format. So, you have access to the information in the official language of your choice. We also are encouraging you to shut down your virtual private network if you have your VPN up. It will help in terms of your ability to participate, hopefully seamlessly. Hopefully, the technology will cooperate with us today. And also you will have an ability to ask questions by using the hand raising button that you should be able to see on your Zoom this afternoon. So if you want to ask questions at the end of the session, we're going to have, hopefully, a question and answer period and you can use the little hand raising button on the Zoom platform this afternoon. Finally, I'd like to acknowledge that we have hopefully created a respectful and safe environment for today's discussion, but it will still include some content that can raise certain emotions, certain aspects of lived experience. So we encourage you all to take a moment, to take a break, and to access resources that are available to you, such as through the Employee Assistance Program. So, if you're feeling any emotions that may arise at any time during the event, please feel free to access the resources that are available to employees. We're going to try to manage our time well, so I will ask all of our wonderful speakers today to do their very best to manage their time so that we can be respectful of everyone's opportunity to speak today, as well as to our listeners too, for them to have an opportunity to ask questions. While we won't be able to answer everyone's questions, we will certainly take note of all those questions and provide the information subsequent to this session today. So I'm going to start by introducing our first Elder, Claudette Commanda, whom I hope many of you have already had the opportunity to listen to.

[Valerie Gideon and Claudette Commanda appear in video chat panels]

She always has such wise words for us and has accompanied us on our journey of reconciliation as a federal public service for quite a many years now. And we always really appreciate her words of wisdom. So, Elder Commanda, over to you.

[Claudette Commanda appears on screen. She is holding an eagle feather.]

Claudette Commanda: [Indigenous language] Thank you, Valerie, for those beautiful words, the introduction and the beautiful words in opening this important meeting. [Indigenous language]. I introduce myself and who I am in my spirit. My spirit name [indigenous language]. I am Claudette Commanda from the community of Kitigan Zibi Algonquin First Nation. And I welcome all you beautiful people, my brothers and sisters, from coast to coast to coast, to this beautiful unsurrendered, unceded homeland of the Algonquin people. The homeland that the creators entrusted onto us since time immemorial, and a homeland that we must ensure will be forevermore everlasting for our children today and tomorrow and those seven generations. I acknowledge my ancestors [indigenous language], and I acknowledge the ancestors of all Indigenous peoples and all who are here today. It is so important that we acknowledge our ancestors and this work that we are doing together on the implementation of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We call on. Call on the Creator for his love. We call on our ancestors for their blessings that this work will be done in a good way and our ancestors will ensure and they will guide this work, this work that is so needed. The rights of Indigenous peoples. Not only are we declaring it in words, but we must declare it in action as we ask the Creator.

[00:05:42 Claudette Commanda gestures with the eagle feather]

We say [indigenous language]. We come together with one mind, one heart, one spirit and one voice. All of us who are here today in this important meeting. We ask the grandmothers and the grandfathers of the four directions to guide this meeting, to protect this meeting, to bless with that good health, in wisdom, in knowledge and in respect. And we ask the grandmothers and the grandfathers to bless this meeting with love and kindness as they continue every day and every moment to love us with kindness and wisdom. And we ask for that strength and that good health as we ask for that love, and we ask for life as we come together and we say thank you to the Creator for the joy of living. And may our ancestors be proud of us for this good work that we are doing for the children today and tomorrow. [Indigenous language]. We thank the Creator for hearing this prayer. [Indigenous language]. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon and Claudette Commanda appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language] Elder Commanda for that lovely, welcoming blessing that is so uplifting. Thank you very much, [indigenous language]. I'll now turn it over to Manitok Thompson, the Inuit Knowledge keeper, who will offer some remarks and light the qulliq.

[Valerie Gideon and Manitok Thompson appear in video chat panels. Manitok Thompson has a large qulliq, that is lit, in front of her.]

Manitok Thompson, Inuit Knowledge keeper: [Indigenous language].

[Manitok Thompson appears on screen]

Manitok Thompson: I'm very thankful to be part of this meeting, to start it off with the blessings from our Creator, so that each and every one of you will have wisdom to move forward with some action that will be felt at the grassroots level in the communities. I'm thankful for Claudette for her welcoming because we all are standing on the land that belonged to the people of these territories, of these lands. This is where they hunted, this is where they survived. Those are the people that have brought Canada to this day, but we have to recognize they had rights that were violated. And it gives us a heavy heart just to remember the journey we went through as little children when we were taken away without our parents' permission, just grabbed. And it's still happening today because of lack of infrastructure in our communities. Our mothers, pregnant. Ladies go out of their communities to have their babies in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Edmonton from Nunavut. Before that, we were midwives. We were able to deliver. But the trust is not there; to trust the first Canadians to deliver their babies. Our elders are being taken away to Ottawa, Embassy West, Inuit Elders right now, 42 of them without the option of returning back because we don't have the infrastructure. The same thing is happening in the First Nation reserves where their elders are taken away to the cities, because no infrastructure and no staff training. These are very basic human rights. I have read all the articles and I know them by heart, from Article 1 to Article 46. I'm going to read you Article 10: "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on the just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return." I was involved in a petition where I got 22,000 people to sign to get an elder back to Coral Harbour, my hometown, the Elder Raymond Ningeocheak, who's been our political leader for 40 years. He was sent down as an elder to Embassy West to be there for two weeks. He stayed there two years. We couldn't get him out of there even though he wanted to go home, his family wanted to look after him. 2022, it's still happening. We raised $40,000 to charter a plane and brought him back home. The trust of the Indigenous people still has not reached the level where we are treated with basic rights. I have a family member in Rankin. Eleven people in a two-bedroom house. There's a lack of infrastructure, basic rights to shelters. There's so much work to do, and this is the beginning. The first action for ITK is that you inform the people of Nunavut and Inuit Nunangat what you are doing here at this meeting. Because too often that does not happen. Sorry to say that. I want a poster in each high school of the Indigenous rights, 1 to 46 translated in Inuktitut, so each child will grow up knowing what their rights are. I have my qulliq lit. I'm in my tent. This is my tent where I do tanning of raw skins, where I do sewing. I have all these posters posted on my wall. They're my grandparents. They're my relatives. I have Dick and Jane, a piece of the book, because that's the language that killed my language, and I posted them there. This is a qulliq. It's not a ceremonial. It was not ceremonial, but we light it to remember where we come from, that we survived in the harshest part of Canada with this because we don't have any trees. I have seal fat with this. It's been going on since this morning, so the tent is really warm. People often wonder... I'm going to be done—I know I'm on a time clock here. I'm done in one minute. But I have to say this, because a lot of people question this. How do you cook on this? We take a rock and we put the pot on it. That's how we cook on this. Now I'm going to pray for all the staff because this is a very exciting day for me and for everybody. You're doing a great job. I'm going to bless each one of you guys that in your heart the fire starts burning and it burns right down to the ground at the grassroots level because too many meetings happen and the community people don't ever hear about it or don't know anything about it. That's the goal of each and every federal staff member to make sure the communities at the grassroots level know what's going on. Let's pray. [Indigenous language]. Oh, Lord, I thank you for the new day. This is indeed a very good day. I ask you to bless each and every one here. I ask you to bless their families. First of all, Lord, give them wisdom. Give them wisdom to make sure that these are not just words, that they're actions, that each and every child that is born from now on will know what their rights are in Canada and in the world. Thank you, Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.

[Valerie Gideon and Manitok Thompson appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language], Knowledge keeper Thompson. Thank you so much. I will now turn it over to Elder Boston. I can see—oh, here you are on the screen. Excellent. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon and Kathleen Boston appear in video chat panels]

Kathleen Boston: Good day, everyone. My name is Kathy Boston. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba,

[Kathleen Boston appears on screen]

Kathleen Boston: heartland of our Métis nation and the traditional lands of Treaty 1 territory: the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people. It is an honour to be sharing this space with all of you today on such an important issue that will affect not only this generation, but generations to come in a good way. We'll offer prayers to our sacred ground, sacred grandmothers from all directions. We offer your prayers today with love and respect. We are thankful for Mother Earth and her daily blessings. We are grateful for our families, our friends, our communities, and our animal friends. Sacred grandmothers, we ask for your guidance today as we move forward on our path to healing and taking our rightful place as equals in this country. Let us pray this United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people will open the minds of many to understand that we, the Métis Nation, the First Nations and the Inuit people have distinct cultures that are rich in both traditions and values. Sacred grandmothers, let us pray for all to understand that it is our obligation as human beings to treat each other with respect, compassion and dignity. We share the space. All of us. And we should do so in harmony like the land, air and water creatures do. And we should also show respect to all the lands and all the waters. Let us pray that today, we will move forward together and accept the change, live the change, and let us become the change. Today, let us hold in our thoughts and prayers the Jack family. Ronnie and Doreen, both 26, their two children, Ryan and Russell, aged nine and four years old, vanished without a trace from the Prince George area in August of 1989. Ronnie was seen talking to a man at the First Litre bar in Prince George. The man offered him and his wife jobs at a logging camp, about 40 kilometres west of Prince George. The man also told Ronnie the camp had daycare. Ronnie and Doreen did not have a vehicle. The man also offered to drive the family to the job site that night and waited while they packed and brought their children. Approximately around 1:30 a.m., August 2nd, witnesses saw them leave in a dark four-wheel-drive truck. Shortly after 11 p.m., Ronnie had called his brother, and a couple of hours later he called his parents in Burns Lake, BC, relating to them that they would be at the site for 10 to 14 days and would return home by the start of school. That was the last anyone heard from this family. This family is still missing. The Highway of Tears has a long list of missing and murdered people, but the Jack family is the only family in Canada's history to completely vanish. May our sacred grandmothers surround the family with love and compassion. Ronnie, Doreen, Ryan and Russell are missed, they are loved and they will never be forgotten. In the spirit of our sacred grandmothers, [indigenous language]. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon and François Daigle appears on video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much. I will now turn it over to the Deputy Minister of Justice Canada, François Daigle, for his opening remarks. , I will now turn the floor over to our Deputy Minister of Justice Canada, François Daigle, for his opening remarks.

François Daigle, Justice Canada: Thank you very much, Valerie, and hello everyone. Happy to be here with you today.

[François Daigle appears on screen]

François Daigle: I'm replacing Shalene Curtis-Micallef, who was going to join you, but she got pulled away. But I'm very happy to be able to make some opening remarks. First, I guess, greetings from my office here. I'm joining you from my office in Ottawa, which sits on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe nation. And thank you very much to Elder Commanda and to Elder Boston, and to Knowledge keeper Thompson for your words of wisdom and your blessings. And thanks to Valerie for accepting the invitation to moderate our discussion today. Many thanks as well to some of the panellists, some I've met before, for your participation today. We have, I think I heard, over 3,000 people joining us today. So I'm very happy with that, and I think this is going to be a good launch to some of the work that we're doing on the declaration and on the Act that the government brought in last year. It's a good indication of the high level of interest in the public service to learn more about the declaration and more about the UNDA, and about the important role that each of you have in transforming the government's relationship with Indigenous peoples in this country. So what I wanted to do is to set the stage for the panel discussion by talking a little bit about the declaration and about the UNDA. The declaration is the result of collaboration between UN member states and Indigenous peoples from around the world. Canada's Indigenous leaders played a very important role for many years in its development, including the drafting and negotiation of its content. The declaration sets out minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples around the world, including rights related to governance, health, community, culture, language, lands, territories and resources, and education. The declaration recognizes not only collective rights, but also individual rights. Implementing the declaration is an important step on the shared path of reconciliation. It responds to the TRC, to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 43, and to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice. It builds also on the work of parliamentarians, particularly Romeo Saganash and former Bill C-262. The government work with Indigenous peoples from coast to coast to coast to introduce and pass Bill C-15. And I can tell you that for those of us who were working on this in the Department of Justice, and to borrow the words from Knowledge keeper Thompson, when this bill passed in June 2021, the fires in our hearts grew bigger. And we are so happy to be able to continue the work with everybody. And as I said earlier, all of you that are joining us today will have a part in working on this. Before the bill was introduced in December, officials held over said 70 engagement sessions with Indigenous peoples, including modern and historic treaty partners, national and regional Indigenous organizations, and women's and youth organizations. The discussions helped to shape and enhance the bill, including through the inclusion of important statements in the preamble, additional detail around what ought to be in an action plan, and emphasis on addressing racism and discrimination. This dialogue did not end with the introduction of the bill in 2020. Throughout the parliamentary process, Indigenous peoples continued to make recommendations and to work with us and to make key improvements. And key improvements were made as part of that process in response to the input that we received, including in relation to systemic racism and discrimination. The result of the process and of the collaborative work undertaken was a bill that sets out, we think, a robust framework based on continued partnership with Indigenous peoples for the implementation of the declaration at the federal level. And as you know, the Act became law in Canada on June 21, 2021, so almost a year ago. So the Act now calls on all of us here today to consider every day how we can align the work that we do with the requirements of recognizing, promoting, protecting and upholding the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. And this is really based on human rights. We're taking a human rights approach to developing this work. There are three key pieces to this work, all of which are central to the Act. First, the government must take all measures necessary to ensure that federal laws are consistent with the UN declaration. Two, that the Minister of Justice, in collaboration with other federal ministers, must prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the declaration. And finally, three, the Minister of Justice must also develop annual reports on progress and submit them to Parliament. So while the Department of Justice and our minister clearly has a leadership role to play here, these three statutory requirements must be fulfilled by all departments in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous partners. They are meant to contribute to the implementation of the UN declaration in a tangible way that will call on us all to work together as the whole of government, hence the importance of today's session with more than 3,000 people. So as you listen to the panellists, I invite you to reflect on how you and your department can contribute to identifying elements of the action plan that we have to develop together, including in relation to addressing discrimination, racism, violence, promoting mutual respect and understanding, and an oversight on accountability and measuring progress. One thing for those of you who haven't thought about this that I think you absolutely have to do is if you're going to be able to contribute to the action plan and really understand it, it's important that you understand the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. So if you haven't spent time learning, I really encourage you to do that. And there's lots of training that's available, whether it's the School of Public Service or with some of the NGOs. We've done that at the Department of Justice, and we're going to continue to doing that because I think you have to understand lived experiences if you really want to make a meaningful contribution here. So how can the Action Plan help build on current work to address discrimination and injustice in our institutions, including for us in the Department, in the criminal justice system? More generally, how can our work to align federal legislation over time with the declaration help us to uphold the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples, including the right to self-determination and self-government? Those are some of the questions that you should ask yourselves. Implementing the UN Declaration will be, I think, a transformational process for Canada. It offers hope for a stronger, more inclusive and a more equitable future for all of Canada, and especially for Indigenous peoples in Canada. I know the panellists will bring their diverse experiences and perspectives to the discussion today to help us all deepen our understanding of why the UN Declaration is so important for our work, as well as giving us a practical sense of the actions we all need to take to contribute to the effective implementation of the declaration at the federal level. So I look forward to the discussion and I will turn it right back to Valerie to moderate the rest of the session. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon appears on screen]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you, François. Thank you very much, François. You know, we're right on time. And I have to say, I was reflecting on when I first started my public service career actually as an Indigenous student. If I could ever have imagined a session like this one today, and I hope that we can for sure maintain the momentum that many of the speakers so far have talked about and that the Deputy Minister just spoke to around taking practical action, but also learning, understanding and making sure that we are also contributing to the change, to that burning fire within us that has been lit today or fuelled further for those of us that have had a fire since the day that we were born. So our panel today is quite diverse and we have First Nations, Inuit, Métis Nation representatives, along with three key federal representatives that will have a key role to play in terms of the implementation. And we have two questions for the six members of the panel to go through.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Each will take their turn in a respectful way. One of the questions is focused on the understanding that we need to have within the public service, and the other is focused on our role within the context of implementation. We will then take the last half an hour or so of the session today to invite your questions as well for any or all of our panel members. So, I'll start by introducing the members of our discussion today, our representatives. So I'll start by introducing our panellists. We have Caleb Behn, who is the Director of Rights at the Assembly of First Nations; Tim Argetsinger, who is the Executive Political Adviser for Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; and Brandon MacLeod, who is the Director of Justice and Legislative Affairs at the Métis National Council. Within the federal public service, we have Laurie Sargent, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Indigenous Rights and Relations Portfolio at the Department of Justice; Angie Bruce, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Indigenous Affairs and Major Projects Management Office at Natural Resources Canada; and Diana Kwan, who is the Manager in the Strategic Policy Directorate at Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. So welcome to all of you. You will all be visible on the screen. And I will start with our first question, and I'll certainly indicate the order of the speakers. The first question is what would you say are the key elements you think public servants need to understand with respect to the declaration and the development of the UN Declaration Act? If you can speak to the development of the declaration and the UN Declaration Act, and the importance of this work for all of our collective future. I will start with Brandon MacLeod.

[Brandon MacLeod appears on screen]

Brandon MacLeod, Métis National Council: Sure. Thank you for that introduction. I'd first like to start by thanking Knowledge keeper Thompson, Elder Boston, Elder Commanda, for opening up this panel. I want to thank the Canadian School of Public Service for putting us on. And I'm also quite happy to be joined by my friends and colleagues at AFN and ITK, Justice and NRCAN. And thank you, everyone, for joining us all today. This is quite a big topic. I was quite privileged to be involved in the co-development of C-15, the Declaration Act, with several members of this panel, actually. And whether you've been involved at that level or whether you've just been a casual observer of Canadian politics and law, you've probably encountered some of the developments and the rhetoric around the passing of the Act. It's been called a framework for reconciliation. It's been called—well, we've called it the blueprint for reconciliation throughout the parliamentary process. There's been a lot of mention of how it addresses legacies of colonialism, for example, and systemic racism. So I want to say a few words here about why that is, why the declaration and the Act is referred to in that manner. I'm going to start by making some broad comments about the Act itself—sorry, about the declaration itself. And then I'm going to narrow down my comments into making more specific and detailed remarks relevant to public servants in how they carry out this work. Since I'm the first speaker, I'll make a few general comments about the declaration. You open it up or you click on it, and it's a preamble and it's a set of articles. So the declaration affirms a set of rights. These rights are inherent to us as Indigenous peoples. They're not independent, but they are to be read together into a cohesive picture of our inherent rights. Article 43 tells us that these rights are the minimum standards for our survival, our wellbeing and our dignity. Most of the rights are collective, that is, they apply and belong to us as peoples, as a group. Although some are more individual, they might be more familiar to people who are familiar with the Charter, that is, equality rights, rights for women and children and so on. Some of these rights are substantive, that is, they set out the content of the right for health, for languages, for the use of lands and territories and so on. Some of the rights are more procedural in nature, that is, they set out how Indigenous peoples as groups interact with the Canadian state in the engagement of their rights. So there are lots of different lenses you can look at the declaration through. For me, I look at the declaration as a compact between nations. For us in Canada, that means the Canadian state, the Métis Nation, First Nations and Inuit, the declaration is a rights-based understanding for how colonial states can co-exist with Indigenous peoples in a way that guarantees our rights, our minimum standards for our survival, well-being and our dignity. This is ultimately a question for me of self-determination, of our inherent right to self-determination, how to protect and maintain both the substantial and the procedural aspects of that right, and that includes centrally self-government. For the Métis Nation, we have a long history addressing and articulating such questions and rights. For example, a former MNC president, Clément Chartier, was involved in the negotiations for the declaration over several years. But even going back further and more broadly than that, going back to the days of Confederation, the Métis Nation had a long and deep interest in articulating our right to self-determination. In the Red River in 1870, Louis Riel and many other Métis delegates drafted a list of rights. These rights form the basis for negotiations for what would become the Manitoba Act. And they addressed a very similar question as what would the relationship between the Métis Nation and the Canadian state as Canada moved further westward. And when you look at the Métis list of rights, you see a lot of similar characteristics to the declaration. There are protections for languages, for lands, for customs and traditions, but there are also very specific requirements for how we govern ourselves and how our government interacts with the Canadian government. We know from history and from the Supreme Court of Canada that the position of the Métis Nation in these matters wasn't necessarily respected or upheld. And so this is perhaps what colours my view of the declaration, our view of the declaration, and this is how we say it can address these legacies of colonialism. So, I guess when I refer to the declaration as a blueprint for reconciliation, it sets out this substantive protection for self-determination, but it also contains within it the who, the what, the when and the how for when these rights are engaged with the Canadian state. And I want to highlight in particular two articles here: Articles 18 and Articles 19. These are absolutely crucial to understand as public servants. They set out the method for how you, as actors of the Canadian state, interact with our rights. Our [inaudible speech] says Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision making in matters which would affect their rights through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own Indigenous decision-making institutions. So this is a corollary of our right to self-government, which is also set out in the declaration. It shows who, it shows that these rights are held collectively by groups, by nations. And when we interact with the Canadian state, we do it through our own self-determined representative institutions. So these are the relevant parties. It's not a laundry list of experts or academics or pan Indigenous Indigenous groups or whoever, although they can bring important ideas to the table. The relevant groups in this discussion are the self-governments and the self-representatives, institutions, our peoples. Article 19 states that states shall consult and cooperate in good faith with Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them. So this sends out the when and the how in this process. How is the process of consultation and cooperation? This is set out consistently in the declaration as containing three elements. It must be done in good faith through representative institutions in order to obtain free, prior and informed consent. And the when is it must be done before the adoption, the implementation, or the approval of any administrative or legislative measures. So that's kind of the state of play here. That's how we filter our rights through our institutions as they interact with the Canadian state.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Brandon MacLeod:  Just checking for time. I'm just going to wrap up here because I see my time's almost done. I think I'll get into more technical comments and more detailed remarks about the Act itself in the next section. So thank you, Valerie, and then I'll conclude there.

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Brandon. That was a really interesting overview for sure for folks. I'll turn it over to Tim at ITK.

Tim Argetsinger, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami: Thanks, Valerie. Hi, everyone. Unfortunately, I can't see you, but it does make public speaking a bit easier.

[Tim Argetsinger appears on screen]

Tim Argetsinger: I'd like to acknowledge and thank my fellow panellists and participants and the elders who opened the meeting. I would echo much of what Brandon has said. The overview that he provided is actually really helpful and useful for understanding, I think, the broader significance of what the declaration is. It is an international consensus recognition of the minimum standards for the treatment of Indigenous peoples, and that's something that some of you may have heard before. I think our focus at ITK has been on understanding and developing solutions for putting that reality into practice, so focusing on the actual on-the-ground application of specific articles of the declaration and what the implications of the recognition of those rights could mean when it comes to issues that are challenges for many Inuit. Manitok mentioned one of them, housing. There are other social challenges in relation to achieving social and economic equity, including in relation to access to education, to the ability of families to live with dignity and in safety, to enjoy the right to food security. So these are just a few of the gaps, I think, that exist within Canada. They are legislative gaps and policy gaps that contribute to those and other challenges. I think the practical work of implementing the UN Declaration Act, that is the space where we are in the process of interpreting what the application of the implementation of each article of the UN Declaration means, in a Inuit-specific context, but also a Canada-specific context. I think it's actually quite remarkable that to my knowledge, Canada is the first nation state to pass national legislation seeking to implement the declaration. So that's both a really exciting opportunity, but in many ways it's also a challenge because it means that we don't necessarily have a clear path or other models to follow. We are figuring out how to do this in the best possible way. So the work of developing the action plan, the questions around how the action plan intersects with Section 5, which is the section, as mentioned earlier, that creates an obligation for the government to take all measures necessary to align the rights that are [inaudible speech] by the declaration with Canadian laws. We're developing solutions to these problems, but also developing, I guess, solutions for actually how to ensure that the articles are implemented in a way that have positive impacts in the day-to-day lives of Inuit and other Indigenous peoples. There are articles that necessarily for their implementation require Inuit-specific solutions. There are others that have implications more broadly for all Indigenous peoples. So the way that we go about this work is both in a distinctions based fashion, but also a working partnership with our colleagues at AFN and Métis Nation. So I'll just pause there. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Tim. I really appreciate the international consensus piece of this as well. Caleb. Caleb. Sorry.

Caleb Behn, Assembly of First Nations: Salutations, everybody. I'm just hoping you can hear me. I'm using these crazy earphones.

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: One, my name is Caleb Behn. I'm Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne-za, [inaudible speech] from my mom's first nation, the West Moberly First Nations on the western border of Treaty 8. But I am technically, due to the Indian Act and its sex-based discrimination, registered to my dad's nation, which is Fort Nelson First Nation, 400 kilometres that way, north from where I am. [Indigenous language] to Elder Commanda, and Elder Thompson and Elder Boston for starting us off in a good way. [Indigenous language] to my brothers Brandon and Tim. We worked together on C-15. [Indigenous language] to Laurie, in particular, Valerie, François, and also the CSPS team for hosting us, for working with us and being in a right [inaudible speech] on this. [Indigenous language] to you for participating and being present. I'm going to start off in kind of a peculiar way, as is my style. I was talking with my dad about what to do about this presentation because it's one of the biggest crowds I've ever talked to; not the biggest, but getting up there. And my dad got stolen from his community in 1956 at five years old to go to the Lower Post residential school. And it was civil servants who took him at that time. It was the priest, the head of the RCMP and the Indian agent who went to my grandfather, my late grandfather, Chief George Behn, who was chief at the Fort Nelson First Nations for something like three decades, two and a half decades. And they were convincing the chief to send his kids, because if they could do that, they could facilitate the easy expropriation and movement of the kids. And as Elder Thompson pointed out, this is contrary to the UN Declaration. And the thing about it is that what happened to my dad, and when I was in law school, I helped my dad with his residential school claim, but he and I both could only do the first two pages because I don't know if you've ever looked at what the claim package was like for residential school survivors, but when it came time to discuss with my father the different body parts and implements that entered him as a little boy, I couldn't take it. And I still can't. As much as like I love being, you know—I was called to the bar in 2014, I was the first [inaudible speech] member to get called in Fort St. John adjacent to here. But I couldn't deal with the reality of what occurred and the civil service had a role in that. And one of the consequences of what happened to him is what happened to my older brother, my late older brother, who passed on this year. And one of the consequences to what happened to my older brother is the direct result that happened to me. And I won't go into detail about that, except to say that the intergenerational transfer of trauma and the implications deriving therefrom are the basis of the UN Declaration, which is the longest negotiate instrument in UN history, by the way. There is a reason colonial nation states, Canada, Australia, and the US opposed it. And there is a reason why this country and government now firm it unreservedly. And the reason I share that personal story is that the AFN—so to be clear, we're an [inaudible speech] organization. Unlike our colleagues, we're not a representative organization. There are far too many nations. It's highly complex, as I mentioned, on Treaty 8, both sides. There's complexity associated and, of course, the references that Brandon made to article 18 and 19, if you guys want to go look, you can look at my family's court case, Behn v. Moulton, 2011, explaining and engaging how the colonial nation state structure interfaces with Indigenous pre-existing structures and evolving structures. And for my part, I think, in answer to the question about what's not just the key elements, you know, as my colleagues, as my brothers have said, you have to understand the UN Declaration in its historical context. As François said, you need to have some lived experience, and I'll be very clear. So what I just did by telling you my dad's story—and I don't know why my background is flashing, that's super weird. The reason I did that was pursuant to Dunne-za law, Indigenous law and legal order. What I did is I gave a gift proactively on the sacred crucible of our discussion that's personal, highly personal, as an offering to the sacred relationality that we have to share. And the thing about true offerings is they can't be contrived; they can't be performative; they can't be theoretical; they can't be mere words, as Manitok Thompson said. So what I gave to this space intentionally, pursuant to my Indigenous law, was a historical truth, because I also believe that the civil service has a profound honour, but it has a fairly profound history as well. It is a sacred profession to serve your fellow beings and to reference what Elder Boston mentioned in her prayer, it's also a sacred service, and I'll reference over to NRCAN, to be in connection with non-human beings, all of which interfaces with Indigenous laws and legal orders, which is the potential this country has, because as Tim pointed out, we're the first. We're the bleeding edge of the wedge. We're the tip of the spear in this country right now. And I think where I'll leave it because I'm actually more keen to discuss questions,

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Caleb Behn:  but what I would propose for me, the most important element in the UN Declaration and the work that we do at the AFN is figure out the sacred interface not only between the federal government and First Nations, but by extension the sacred interface between some fairly dark histories and some fairly uncertain futures in fairly complex times. And what I would propose as civil servants is that you rightfully reclaim and decolonize, because colonial endeavours have intrinsic patriarchy, intrinsic hierarchy, intrinsic dehumanization. I would propose that the public service now under C-15, and under the processes, and again, like Brandon mentioned, we can get in the technical. I'd love to talk about the annual reporting process. I'd love to talk about the National Action Plan. I'd love to talk about alignment of laws which, for the AFN, we focus on long-term proposals and change. There are over 1,000 resolutions at the AFN that are explicitly recognized, the human declaration. We were there when C-262 died on the floor of the Senate. We were there when it was getting negotiated. Many, many national chiefs and myriad chiefs participated in those in extensive negotiations over decades. But what I propose as the key element is the recognition that there is a massive possibility that can only be derived from fairly massive responsibility. And that's the history of this country and that's the thing we share. So I gave you pursuant to my Dunne-za law, because I'm on Dunne-za territory right now, West Moberly First Nation, adjacent to site C, by the way. What I gave you is an offering to hold up and acknowledge and affirm. I don't your guys' struggle as civil servants. I know a little bit about the boundaries within which you work. I know a little bit about how federal law works, but I don't know your day to day, but I propose that you are a part of something that could address a dark past and a bright future. I'll leave it there.

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language], Caleb, for the gift. The offering that you provided to everyone here that is participating in this virtual space is very appreciated, and I'm sure it will not be forgotten by all of our listeners this afternoon. We're running a few minutes behind, but I know we want to hear from all of our panellists. So I'll ask maybe for our federal representatives to just be mindful and perhaps shorten a bit of your time, if that's possible. We will now go over to Laurie Sargent from the Department of Justice. Laurie.

Laurie Sargent, Department of Justice: Thank you, Valerie. And thank you to our elders for opening us in a good way. It is such an honour and a privilege, and now you can all see why for me to have been able to participate in the work on developing the UN Declaration Act.

[Laurie Sargent appears on screen]

Laurie Sargent: I am so grateful to our colleagues from MNC, ITK and AFN for having set the stage. It will make it easier for me to go more quickly through some of my remarks. I too wanted to start, though, from somewhere a bit more personal, just to talk a bit about why I do this work as a public servant and then, of course, will look forward to the more nuts and bolts discussion that we'll have about the Act and what it means. This work is particularly meaningful to me because 20 years ago I joined the federal public service as a bright-eyed lawyer looking to make a difference, to ensure this country did a better job of respecting human rights and Indigenous rights. My settler background includes ancestors from the United Kingdom who came from different parts of that country to this one over many different decades and centuries, looking to escape poverty, civil unrest and abuse of home, in one case. They worked hard, but they also had the advantages of having been given free or inexpensive land, almost certainly some of it taken wrongfully from Indigenous peoples. So learning the truth over the years about my own family's history, as well as the truths told by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples through so many means, including, of course, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry—so many sources. This has all helped to reinforce my own personal commitment to human rights, which may well have had its origins in my pre-teen self watching the constitutional debates in which so many Indigenous and other leaders participated. Just about 40 years ago today, the Constitution Act was signed, but the debates that preceded it were vigorous, they were important, and they certainly influenced my own development. I feel like we're at another moment like this today, and that's what I think each of our panellists already has talked about. And so I deeply value the opportunity to be with you today to share some reflections on the work that we have already done, and also all the work we have to do and still have ahead of us to move forward concretely, with energy and action for the sake of this coming generation, with the implementation of the human rights set forth in the declaration as well as reconciliation. As a starting point for this work, we must recognize the declaration is a human rights instrument covering the full range of economic, social, cultural, civil, political rights that are essential to the dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. I can't stress enough the importance of reading this document. You've already heard a good summary today, but read it. It's a North Star for the work that we need to do together to address the legacies of colonialism, the systemic racism and discrimination that unfortunately all too many Indigenous peoples still face in this country. It's true that the language of the declaration, like other international human rights instruments, is broad and general. So its meaningful implementation requires each of us to translate it into action and meaning in our own areas of work, guided, of course, by the overarching human rights goals, reconciliation goals that inform the declaration that you've heard about today. The UN Declaration Act is a unique piece of federal legislation since it requires partnership in the work we do going forward. So practically speaking, what does this mean? First, we have to take actions together to ensure that federal laws reflect and meet the standards set out in the declaration, while also respecting, of course, section 35 Aboriginal treaty rights protected by the Constitution. This means new laws and policies or updates to laws and policies that impact the rights of Indigenous peoples should all contribute to achieving the objectives of the declaration, both in terms of substance, as Tim mentioned, and in terms of process. The Declaration Act also requires that an action plan be developed as soon as possible and no later than two years after the Act takes effect, i.e., June 2023. As already mentioned, the action plan will need to include measures, specific measures to address injustices, combat prejudice, eliminate all forms of violence, racism and discrimination against Indigenous peoples. It will also include measures to ensure Canada's held accountable on progress through reporting and oversight. So this is why every public servant needs to be familiar with the declaration and its links to your work. And I look forward to exploring further with the panellists to how this will be put into action. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Laurie. I'll now turn it over to Diana Kwan from Crown-Indigenous Relations.

Diana Kwan, Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada: Great. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. I definitely want to thank and acknowledge the elders who joined us today and offered their wisdom. Very, very wise words. And I will try not to disappoint you.

[Diana Kwan appears on screen]

As well, I just wanted to acknowledge also my fellow panellists and from both sides, the federal side as well as the Indigenous side. And I also want to thank the CSPS for putting together a fantastic event. It's strange to think I'm actually talking to 3,000 people right now because I can only see nine squares, but I'm just going to spend a little bit of time talking about the key elements of what the UN Declaration and the UN Declaration Act kind of mean to me and kind of in the work that I do from a much broader policy perspective. So in just a nutshell, I'll talk about what the UN Declaration is beyond what it actually recognizes, what this looks like in Canada or how it's part of our context. And I think I want to spend a little bit of time talking about where the UN Declaration and the UN Declaration Act can lead us, because I think that future forward conversation is something that's actually really quite important. So we've heard today that the UN Declaration—it recognizes the minimum standards of survival and interaction for Indigenous peoples around the world. The key is very much self-determination. We've also heard today that the UN Declaration Act, in particular the steps we're taking in Canada, is very much a human rights-centric approach. So I think it's worth unpacking what that means, because I think that's important for understanding how we would put solutions into place and, of course, how we would work with Indigenous peoples. To me, the UN Declaration as a human rights instrument means that there is a recognition of a distinct Indigenous way of life, and that Indigenous way of life is fundamental. So when we say that Indigenous rights are human rights, I would say that what we are recognizing is that there's this intrinsic value of Indigenous peoples' perspectives, the ways of doing things, the ways of making decisions, the ways of governance and, of course, different Indigenous laws. So I think the question when we kind of move from the UN Declaration to the UN Declaration Act is how do we put this into practice? And to me, the UN Declaration Act itself, it's a very active step for Canada, for our government, to ensure that Indigenous ways of doing and being become part of the government's ways of doing and being. And how that actually works is actually the challenge that we all have as public servants to make that work. And I think in order to really, truly understand how that works, and it can't be said enough, I think every panellist has said that, it's incredibly important to understand how the UN Declaration is situated within our own context. And that very much means understanding what the history of our country actually is. It's not a pretty one. It's not an easy one. But I think in this moment today, because of things like the UN Declaration Act, we are very much in a transition where we are working with Indigenous peoples as opposed to doing things to them or for them, as our history has actually revealed to us. So in a lot of ways, for me, the UN Declaration itself helps us in this transition. It's a tool that drives us to think more about our laws, our policies, our programs and our practices in very fundamentally different ways and in ways that are far more inclusive. So one of the other things that I want to cover a little bit is where this kind of thinking will lead us and what a future driven by the UN Declaration and the UN Declaration Act actually looks like. I think we are in the midst of a tremendous shift in thinking in this country. We, I think today, can say that Indigenous issues were once thought of as a problem to be solved, to be addressed, to be overcome. But I think that's shifting. And I think very much that language of problem and issue to be solved is giving way to opportunity. It's giving way to Indigenous excellence and Indigenous leadership, some of which we see today. Absolutely. But I think it's also not just a space that's restricted to just what part is government space or what part is Indigenous space; I actually think what we have here is an understanding that the space we have is a shared space and that within that shared space, there is plenty of room for shared decision-making processes, shared decision-making mechanisms and shared decision-making structures. So I think that's where we can build a shared narrative together, not built by one side for another, not built by one side for their own side, but built together. So I think that's where I'm going to leave it and turn it back to you, Valerie. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Diana. Last but not least, we'll hear from Angie Bruce from my Natural Resources Canada.

Angie Bruce, Natural Resources Canada: Thank you, Valerie. And I would again start by acknowledging our elders and our Knowledge keeper, who I really think set us in a good way to have this discussion. Laying out and recognizing the truth of the history, I think, is the first step for us as we go. And I think our colleagues and our panellists here in terms of bringing that history, because Indigenous peoples' history is very different than the history we've all learned or that we might understand.

[Angie Bruce appears on screen]

Angie Bruce: And so I think for me, one of the pieces that I think is critically important and has been touched on is that understanding. At NRCAN, one of the pieces that we look at when we look at the legislation is beyond what does the Act actually ask for, which is the changes to legislation. In order for us to truly implement that, we need to change the culture of the public service. And how do we start to change that culture and start to shift the narrative, start to shift the understanding of what our responsibility is in the creation of a meaningful partnership and truly being partners at the table when we have conversations that impact human rights, that impact Indigenous peoples' ways of being, housing, language, education, the land that we work on, the income that comes to us. I think one of those first pieces for me is creating fluency in reconciliation. And the only way that we start to do that is looking at instituting and demanding and asking ourselves and people that we work with, the public service, to start to understand Indigenous history, the history from a First Nations, Inuit and Métis perspective. And so one of the things that I really want to touch on is we've heard kind of what the Act does, but there are tangible things that we can do. At NRCAN, we've asked all employees to do eight hours of must-have training to become fluent, to understand Indigenous ways of research, Indigenous ways of knowing, understand history, understand who we work with, where you're at, because there are so many different nations, so many different cultural perspectives at the table. And that to me is step one in terms of us identifying and walking into that truth, the truth that we need to understand to move forward. I think the UNDRIP and the Act have the potential to really change and create meaningful partnerships that will look at self-determination and really bring Indigenous people at the tables. I think one of the key pieces to me that we have to understand is that even—and it's in particular for Natural Resources, because we've worked with the land and we work for major projects—communities weren't meaningfully at the table when we looked at decision making, when impacts to their rights took place. And so the Act pushes us to say not only through the Constitution Section 35 obligations do we need to consider this, but we need to look and work with and understand our Indigenous partners' perspectives as it relates to programming, policy, legislation and regulation that may have a direct or indirect impact. And that is everything we do. Take a step back in terms of the conversations that we're starting to have within the Department; this doesn't just impact industry. This doesn't just impact policy. This doesn't just impact our engagement team. This impacts our corporate services, how we're choosing to spend our money, how we're choosing to work with people really makes a difference, how we're choosing to hire the focus on bringing Indigenous voices into the public service impacts the outcomes that we are going to have, will impact the ability that we have. This legislation for me really, truly is laying the foundational groundwork for us to create change. And we all have that responsibility to understand that we cannot continue to do our work the way that we have always done it. And so that starts with us educating ourselves, with us making the connections and meaningful partnerships with the people that we work, on the lands that we work. That means going out to communities and not sitting—well, of course, when COVID's done and it's safe—that we go out and do that work and see how are people living. What are those impacts of those decisions? What do they want to see? Indigenous nations, and I think what we've seen—we have to walk away from a paternalistic, that's the other piece, the paternalistic lens that we understand best as public servants. What this legislation and the work that it's calling us to do is to say we don't, we understand our perspectives and our purviews. And in order to move forward in the right way, in a meaningful way, that means working with communities because they're on the land. They're the ones being impacted by the discussions, by the decisions, by the conversations that are happening at the table. So I really, truly feel like all of the great work that this has done to me really drives us to question, because I don't want people to leave with a thought that, "Oh, well, we have to wait for an action plan to be developed, an action plan that will just outline the steps that we have to take." What I'm hearing from the other panel members, what the elders and the Knowledge keepers put on the table is we have waited. We are done waiting, and there are things that we can do in our everyday work environment to make a difference. And that really starts with knowledge, with understanding and with partnerships, which means making relationships, that relationality, which becomes a key piece, and walking together on the journey, not walking ahead, not walking behind, but walking together on this path forward. And so I understand government processes, and as we work through these processes, you know, there are challenges in terms of how quickly we can move in the legislations that we come up. But our role now as public servants is to challenge those things, to question those pieces, and to really bring that forward. And I would just maybe end by say...

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: OK, thank you, Angie. I just wanted to make sure we can conclude.

Angie Bruce: All right, Valerie. Well, I'll leave it at that. And I think there's another question, so I'm happy to pass it over.

Valerie Gideon: Great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I know it's difficult to stick to time, but we do have a diverse panel, and I think we want to give everyone a second opportunity to just speak about the implementation side. I think you've noted the incredible importance of the declaration and the UN Declaration Act. We've talked about the North Star. We've talked about a sacred interface, an international consensus around a minimum standard for the treatment of Indigenous peoples. There are many things that I've noted down that will stay with public servants that are listening in terms of its incredible importance. I think if you could think about, you know, one or two kinds of pragmatic things that you would like to see in the government's action plan for the public service to do, I think Caleb mentioned the profound honour that we have as a public service. How can we entrench that? How can we live up to that expectation with respect to this legislation and the declaration itself? So just one or two elements; we'll have to shorten our time just to make sure that we have time for a couple of questions. So if I can try to ask you to keep to two to three minutes, that would be great. And I will give you a time check. So, Laurie, you are first this time around in terms of our panellists.

Laurie Sargent: Thanks, Valerie.

[Laurie Sargent appears on screen]

Laurie Sargent:  And I feel like I will be quick because so much of what I wanted to say has been said. My key message is, first of all, humility. And in fact, having you as our moderator, Valerie, I know how much you could share with us about your own experience. And please feel free to, because I think it might be helpful. We need to, as mentioned already, educate ourselves. And so what I will do is also make just a shameless pitch for Justice Canada's tools and resources that we are developing, some of which we have started to develop, interim guidance, we're calling it, on what consistency of laws means, what does it mean practically in terms of working in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples on the legislation policies that your ministers are asking you to do right now. And, we'll hear more, I think, from our panellists about what practically that means from their perspectives. But I just want everyone to be aware that there are tools to support you. It can be overwhelming. At the same time, there is a lot of experience to draw on and Angie has, I think, captured it in many ways. She has huge experience being at tables, building relationships, building trust, and we all need to do our part. Lord knows, I know on the justice side, we're still working on that. We came to this without necessarily as much relationship currency, shall we say, then as we needed and should have had to move this legislation, in particular, forward. So for the action plan, first of all, I have a team led by Keith Smith, who himself has extensive experience working on human rights with Indigenous peoples, and his team will be working hard to coordinate that across government. We'll be looking for your input. So we're taking that overarching perspective and helping to coordinate, but we are not going to do everyone's work for them. We need you to all embrace this, as it's been mentioned already. And then I'll just also note that we are very mindful that in the world of justice, and our deputy referenced this, we have a lot of work to do, whether it relate to criminal justice, the issues of over-representation. We are mandated to work on an Indigenous justice strategy, and we know that we need to build from the ground up. The situations both across distinctions, places, provinces are different. So we'll be looking to work on that and to do so in a way that's complementary, shall we say, and aligned with the Declaration Act. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Laurie. That was perfect. Diana, over to you.

Diana Kwan: Great. Thanks.

[Diana Kwan appears on screen]

Diana Kwan: So I think I'll point out three things that are important for implementation and role of a public servant. One is to understand the honour of the Crown. It means something to be a public servant. It most definitely means something to work in this area. And it means a heck of a lot to work on behalf of Indigenous peoples in this country from the role of a public servant. I don't think we've talked about this in the public service enough, and I think this is something I would love to see in the action plan for sure. We've all talked about education. Absolutely, really important to understand the legal policy framework that we exist within. We have a Section 35 of our Constitution—there's a constitutional obligation there. We have legislation that is emerging and evolving all the time. Those are two very key parts of our policy framework, but they don't mean anything if we ourselves as public servants don't take them seriously and fulfil it with the honour of the Crown. So I think the third thing I'm going to point to is just our own mindsets and how in the public service they should be shifting. And so, a lot of the shifts that I think we're talking about today is going from an "us/them" mindset to something where we're moving to together. We are all in this together. It goes from accommodating, for example, an Indigenous interest to actually, really, truly being transformative about it and being fully inclusive in what we build together. And I think the other mindset shift that I would point to is a shift from thinking about gain or a competitive type mindset to something around reciprocity and equal benefit. So those are, I think, the key elements that I want to add in terms of making implementation successful. And I will leave it at that. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you. Diana was very insightful. Angie, back over to you.

Angie Bruce: I will try to be on point, Valerie, with this one. And maybe what I can do is just give you an example of something that we've done at NRCAN in order to address this.

[Angie Bruce appears on screen]

Angie Bruce: And one of the pieces is, as this act gets implemented, I'm very mindful what we're going to be doing is looking to community more and more and more. And so the capacity of communities to start engaging with us on the work that we need to do will become stretched. So one of the pieces that we're looking at from a natural resource perspective is how are we positioning ourself to, a) support community but to ensure that we're not engaging at multiple points throughout the organization. So really creating this foundational central relationship with the communities that we work with across Canada by shifting how we're working as a department. So we've created a new department and a new sector, which is the sector that I am responsible for. And I know that you've talked about bringing together the old major projects management and Indigenous reconciliation together. We actually have gone through a journey right now of working with our elders and residents to create a name for our organization that really reflects this new direction and this mandate in order for us to respond to UNDRIP, to respond to Section 35 and to respond to what our Indigenous partners are asking. So we went through an Indigenous cultural ceremony to do so, and I think we were the first sector within the Federal Government that actually has an Indigenous name. And through the work, we had Inuit, Métis, First Nation elders. It was determined that because our head office is in Algonquin territory, we worked with an Algonquin council to give us our name, and our name is [indigenous language], and that translated is sweetgrass, but why the elders gave us that name is they talked about how we are stronger together. All of those strands coming together, being weaved together, creates a strength, a flexibility, creates the sacred medicine for us to be sustainable and to sustain ourselves. And so we now take on that name and all of the public servants that work within that to now carry that forward and move forward. So I wanted to just bring that as part of those things that we need to look at doing differently, those things that we need—we don't have to have English and French as the languages that we need to speak. We need to look at honouring all languages in this country. And so taking those steps and questioning policies, questioning how we do things that may have impact and creating those relationships are really the road map for us as we move forward. So I would add that. Thank you, Valerie.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Angie. We're going to go over to Tim.

Tim Argetsinger: Uh, thanks. I would recommend, I think, an evaluation of culture—of workplace culture that's been alluded to by some of the other panellists.

[Tim Argetsinger appears on screen]

Tim Argetsinger: But I guess a more specific example is the relationship between the federal government and provinces and territorial governments, and that tends to be a protected space. We know that in order to remedy some of the systemic human rights violations that Inuit and other Indigenous peoples often experience, we will need to enact some more creative solutions that may have implications for those relationships. And I think, for example, of Inuit who may be experiencing disabilities, the fact that in some jurisdictions it is just not possible to access the diagnostic services required to diagnose certain disabilities. When it comes to identifying solutions for that particular problem, the federal position or informal policy has often been that this is an area within provincial jurisdiction, that provinces have jurisdiction over health care and education when it comes to Inuit, and therefore, this isn't something that we're able to work on together. So I think as we look at the action plan, those are the types of challenges that we are looking to resolve. But my recommendation to the federal service is that there are opportunities to be more creative in the way that we work with Inuit and other Indigenous peoples to identify solutions. There is a broad spectrum across the federal service. There are federal servants who do have those qualities, who have been stars and advocates when it comes to partnerships with Inuit to develop policy solutions to those types of problems. But they're too often the exception rather than the norm. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Tim. Brandon.

Brandon MacLeod: Thanks.

[Brandon MacLeod appears on screen]

Brandon MacLeod: Something that Angie had touched on in her first round was the fact that there are things that can be done and I think indeed must be done now. The Action Plan is due June 2023, but the Act specifically mentions that nothing in the Act delays the implementation of the declaration. And I would point to specifically bills like C-92, which is the Child and Family Services Bill, the co-development of Indigenous health legislation—things like this that are taking place right now. There's nothing stopping you from going into these areas, certainly not the development of an action plan. However, the action plan will almost certainly contain measures and protocols that speak to some of these processes and some of the articles. But I'm going to make a series of three points that will be evergreen, that will apply now, and they'll apply after the action plan. And I'm going to do it in the next two minutes. The first point will be Indigenous peoples are equal partners, they're equal parties in this. It's not going to be business as usual. I spoke a little bit about the consultation and co-operation standard in the declaration. The standard in the Act carries the same legal meaning as it does in the declaration. So for activities that impair our rights or specifically target us, there is the advent of the free prior informed consent standard there, and this is going to be difficult for many public servants, I think, on a technical level. It will be complex, but like Tim and Angie also mentioned, there will be a business as usual mindset that will need to shift and that's something that we do together. The second point is be early and know who the parties are. I've mentioned before, articles 18 and 19 set out that the parties that are relevant to consultation and cooperation are the governments and representative institutions of Indigenous peoples themselves. For us, I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the Canada-Métis Nation Accord signed in 2017, which formalizes our relationship as a nation with Canada, sets out the government, sets out the Métis National Council and what our roles relative to each other are. If you are working in areas that engage Métis rights, you will benefit from being familiar with this accord. And of course, be early. The earlier the better. This is something that we, in administrative and legislative matters, do together. And the earlier that we can determine together what the impacts might be, I think the clearer our options are going forward in there. The last point I'll make is transparency. This is going to require, I would say, a heightened level of transparency when we make these decisions together as partners. It could include sharing options, sharing working documents, sharing critical paths rather than predetermining the scope of things before and soliciting input from Indigenous peoples. This is kind of a new approach. This is not business as usual. And that's my three minutes, so thank you.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Excellent, Brandon. I need you next to me during all my meetings. We'll now go over to Caleb.

Caleb Behn: [Indigenous language].

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: I'm very much aligned with the previous comments, so I'll be exceedingly brief and I'm going to give every remaining second I possibly have as a gift to you, Valerie, as a challenge building upon Laurie's insight. I think the annual reporting requirement

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Caleb Behn: is a massive opportunity when combined with Section 5, the alignment of laws. I can't know. You know, and I agree on the health legislation. I agree on implementing TRC, on MWG, the Action Plan, the justice system, in particular, which my colleague Julie in the justice sector at AFN deals with. What the AFN is going to do is every single sector and branch is going to engage in the National Action Plan. And then what we're going to do is we're going to hold you to account. But what I propose, before I give my remaining probably 60 seconds to Valerie as a gift to a sister from a brother, is a recognition. I propose that this is catalytic sacred space, between collectivities that need to reconcile while the world itself is having a hard time reconciling with us as a species. So think about two things in the work that you do.

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: First, you exist in an interface space where you have the capacity and there's a sacred thing—I'm not sure if you can hear it through the heartbeat, but the sacred drum is the first thing you hear. That's your mother's heartbeat and then your own. And you only get so many of those. And there's no teaching about that in both sides of my family. You only get so many heartbeats to do this work. And that's natural law. And secondly, whilst the temptation is to conceive of ourselves as strictly human-oriented, you know, very anthropocentric; it's actually really useful. And I know my brothers and sisters amongst the Métis and the Inuit and around the world actually interface with the natural world and the non-human and the spiritual, the sacred, the transtemporal, the transgeographic. And I would just encourage you to get creative with the work that you do as public servants. Because I care about the history of shapeshifters in my territory. And if you want relationality, if you want to think about how to interface with the world and with your history and your future, I think it behooves civil servants to have the capacity to consider the non-human. And with that, I will end and give Valerie as a small token of appreciation for your capacity every remaining second I had.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language], Caleb. That's very kind of you. I already feel very privileged to have been able to have the gift of listening to you all today, and especially as well, the stories that you've shared. So we've received some questions from the 3,000 people that have been listening. So I'm going to go through as many as possible, of course, and I'll just invite the panellists to raise their hand if they would like to respond to the particular question. We're not going to be able to do a round, obviously, of all the panellists with respect to the questions, but I think there are a number of really good questions here, so hopefully we can get some good diversity of responses. The first question was posted in French, so I'll speak to it in French and then I'll just repeat it in English. Canada's national parks and national marine conservation areas, the historic sites, they were created on the ancestral lands of First Nations. Many of them are now managed in collaboration with the Inuit and Indigenous Peoples. So how should we approach implementing the declaration in the context of managing these parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites? So the question is the National Parks of Canada, the Marine—I don't know how to say "aires," "spaces"—surfaces in Canada, the historic sites, they were created on ancestral territory of first nations, and many of them are now co-managed or managed in collaboration with Indigenous peoples. How would we sort of see the Declaration influencing the management of those historic spaces on territorial lands? Is there any member of the panel that would like to take this on? Someone's got to volunteer. Caleb.

Caleb Behn: I'll be fast.

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: Co-management is a step in the right direction. What I propose is interspecies evolved management using big data and Indigenous spiritual insight, and that should be a medium-term goal, like 5 to 10 years. You use co-management of those spaces as a stepping stone into something that's truly transcendent, because in light of climate change and what's happening, chances are those marine protected areas in particular are going to become hyper critical to the long-term interests of this country and all countries and all humans and non-humans. My view.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you, Caleb. And I also would encourage people to familiarize yourselves with the Turtle Lodge as one example of sacred space on Sagkeeng First Nation territory, but an internationally renowned lodge of elders and knowledge keepers from across Canada as well who have done quite a bit of work on climate change, including supporting a number of federal departments. Laurie, I have a quick question for you. You mentioned some tools and resources that are available to support public servants in their work. Would you be able to just share where individuals can access those tools?

Laurie Sargent: Sure. My pleasure. I'm not going to recite a web page address, but know that it's on GCpedia. So for anyone in the public service, you have access to it if you type in UN Declaration, the page with resources will come up.

[Laurie Sargent appears on screen]

We also have some separate legal resources for legal counsel across the whole Department of Justice, serving all departments. I do understand participants will get an email that should include the address, but it is readily available and it is evergreen. I will just say we are going to keep adding to it as we work in collaboration as well with partners here on the panel today and others to keep improving those tools. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Great. Thank you, Laurie. We have a question about the British Columbia Action Plan with respect to the declaration, and if any panellists have any thoughts about it as a potential model for provincial-territorial examples. Tim?

Tim Argetsinger: Sure. I have significant concerns with the way the BC Action Plan is structured.

[Tim Argetsinger appears on screen]

Tim Argetsinger: First, I think that the difference between the work that we are doing, or at least their live conversations, is whether or not Section 5 should be delineated from the work of developing an action plan. So BC did that. So what that means is that the action plan does not instruct government in how to align BC laws with the rights affirmed by the UN Declaration. What it does, my interpretation of it that is concerning is that it divides articles up arbitrarily into different themes. It then attempts to provide an interpretation of those themes, and the actions that follow really respond to the government's interpretation of those arbitrary themes that it contains. So I don't necessarily see it as an action plan that responds to the specific articles and the specific rights affirmed by the UN Declaration. That's the big difference in the approach that we have taken as Inuit, is to focus on what the meaning of the articles is and how to actually implement the specific right that is affirmed by each article. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Tim. Brandon, I have seen your hand up as well. Did you want to jump in on this one?

Brandon MacLeod: Yeah, thanks. I would just echo everything that Tim just said. Completely agree.

[Brandon MacLeod appears on screen]

Brandon MacLeod: A lot of what we've been doing at the MNC is looking at Article 19 in particular. You can probably tell because I've spent most of my time speaking about that article, because it is the point of interface between our nations and the Canadian state. And I think it's very difficult to implement that outside of Section 5, which is the consistency of laws requirement. So I think it's very likely that the action plan should consider how to do that. And that's a difference, a big difference between the BC plan, as Tim mentioned. To me, that specific requirement runs straight through Article 19. Think of the decision-making process for the federal government and how it might interact with, say, a free prior and informed consent requirement for us. And I think it becomes very clear, very quickly that this is something that should be clarified and explored in the action plan. So thank you.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you. Laurie, you also had your hand up?

Laurie Sargent: Sure. I will just say that I think, you know, of course, we're going to learn from the BC Action Plan,

[Laurie Sargent appears on screen]

and I hear the concerns about the Section 5, Section 6 separation. I think we're approaching our development of the action plan in a different way, informed by perspectives that you have just heard. So I don't expect we'll come to the same place in terms of the plan itself, and yet, I just want to acknowledge and hold up the work that BC has done. They are out ahead of us, let's be honest. And we need to acknowledge as well that their action plan includes elements that the federal government needs to look at carefully and take up in relation to some pretty key issues of governance-related legislation that's at the federal level, amongst other things. So, I just want to acknowledge that we should be aware of the work that's going on in BC, that there actually was some good work done as well in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples. For sure, there's more to be done. I know that our BC colleagues would acknowledge that, but I want federal public servants to be aware that it is still an important document for you to also take a look at. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much. We have two more provocative questions, I would say. One question is: is it even possible for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty to be complementary or work with government processes, considering how federal government processes in particular are so top-down? A little bit provocative. Caleb.

Caleb Behn: Yeah. This kind of builds on my earlier point, and I align very much with the BC point and I'll try to blend the two questions in my answer.

Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: Reconciliation with first nations and Indigenous peoples generally actually leads to reconciliation with the land itself. We have a pretty good track record, historically, on justice and on alignment with the non-human. That's kind of critical to survival of our species and all other species for the forthcoming centuries. So there has to be some systemic alignment; when you can understand the history of what Claudette and Kathleen and Manitok Thompson brought to this discussion and the reason that those histories matter, you are much better aligned to make systemically useful medium- and long-term decisions. So I think it's imperative that their alignments be found, and that's the beauty of Indigenous law. Right? That's the beauty of a law that bids you never go hunting in the springtime except for males. Etc., etc., etc. And that's the beauty of an understanding that the caribou aren't doing migration to go mate and eat; they're doing sacred dance to keep this world spinning. And if you can't wrap your head around that, even if you think it's a theory, which respectfully it isn't, in my opinion, even if you can't wrap your head around that, then the civil service and the machinery of government will never be able to functionally interface with the natural world. And that is the responsibility of humans, because we live in this interface space.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Caleb. The other question that I thought was a bit provocative as well was relating to the Treaties 1 to 11 and the Indian Act. How do you see the United Nations Declaration—Caleb's laughing to say, "Come on, I wanted to have a break and a sip of water!" But how do you see the possible interface between the work we need to do to implement the declaration and the fundamental Numbered Treaty relationship? And we could extend that to the friendship treaties and others, but the question is specific to the pre-1975 treaties and the Indian Act.

Caleb Behn: So I'll be brief. As I said, I'm T 8 [Treaty 8] both sides. And Treaty 9 has the third-largest hydrocarbon deposits in the entire planet.

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: So why do my people not get water and the capacity to have kids in their own community? Why did the trillions of dollars of resources in my territory not allow us to have a functional doctor? Because I'm 29 kilometres from the closest gas station. I finished my law degree in Aotearoa and I studied Tikanga Māori. I studied a Māori water law, in particular, which is why I have the tattoo right here of H2O.

[Caleb Behn points to the tattoo on his neck]

Caleb Behn: Numbered Treaties and the sovereign agreements that I think both Brandon and Tim referred to, and their histories are required to evolve operationally, as is the case with a Numbered Treaties. I would view the challenge of understanding historic treaties written in English, and as a running joke on the reservoir about elder grandmas signing with their mark in the bank and being like, "Oh, you have the same signature as me!" There's histories that need to be reconciled with the future. And then the Numbered Treaties, especially, that's going to take some challenges, but the work that FSIN is doing, the work that's being done in Manitoba, the work that's being done Treaty 1, Treaty 2, and the pre-confederation treaties, I think, illustrates this catalytic space where there's possibility, and that's the challenge. It's not on us for the civil service and the federal government to step into modernity with recognition of the past. So I assure you there is a rich learning environment with possibility for catalytic potential. And I think Angie might have some thoughts on this, given the amount of resources in the Numbered Treaties zones. Wink, wink. So, you know, my view is I would perceive it as an opportunity, but I would again encourage looking beyond the human relationality and think about the non-human relationality. And I would encourage consideration of Indigenous laws and legal orders as like very viable and operationally implementable. So to reference my point about co-management zones, co-management spaces, national parks, etc., like you can do things there to test out our relationality that will then be scalable horizontally and vertically. It's a scalability problem. UNDRIP basically creates a mechanism to scale Indigenous governance in this country. And that is...

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels. Caleb Behn's panel has "frozen"]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much, Caleb. Angie, you have your little non-virtual hand raising.

Angie Bruce: My non-virtual—because I don't know how to do the virtual on Zoom. Maybe I would just add to a couple of pieces on the—I think the first question and this question ties together quite nicely.

[Angie Bruce appears on screen]

Angie Bruce: And what I would say is this: the tools that we have in government have been to set up challenges and barriers to self-determination for Indigenous people. It has really been about a paternalistic relationship, a relationship that has been we know best and we want access to, and we're going to kind of put you in this box and work with you from that purview. So moving towards self-determination for me and the steps—there's a lot of steps in place. And so the steps that we're taking towards that is shifting that to be how are we working with communities to understand the tools and mechanisms that they need to become self-determined. So where do we need to give up that role that we play as public servants and turn that back to communities? Because they have laws, they have governance structures, they have social services. There are ways of being that they have that we need to look at turning that back and stepping away from. There are also pieces like when I look at economic reconciliation from a natural resource perspective, that is a key tool for communities looking at providing communities those tools that they want and participating where they want to participate, and providing that economic income so that they have the ability to choose to do what they want to do to grow, whether it be breakfast programs, put additional funding where it needs to be—education, all of those other pieces I think really promotes those steps towards self-determination. And so we're really on a pathway to walk to that, and I do think we have the ability and the tools and the legislation. I think it's pushing us to start to question how do we now work with communities to develop all of that and to give over and to balance that power. It's a balancing of where does that power need to be and how do we work together to do that and move forward? Because what I've heard from most communities and community leadership and elders that I've spoken with is we want to work together. We haven't been; you've been leading and that is not the way forward. And so that is really, truly, I think, what we need to address as we move forward.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much to both of you. Laurie, did you want to jump in?

Laurie Sargent: Well, I can't resist. I'll go a little lawyerly on everyone.

[Laurie Sargent appears on screen]

Just to go back to Article 37 of the declaration itself, which speaks to, of course, Indigenous people's right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and constructive arrangements. And it's something that just comes back to me as Chief Littlechild continued to tell us and remind us as we developed this act, that those treaties remain foundational to Canada's history. They were there. We have not respected them appropriately. As Caleb says, we have to move toward a future relationship which was honestly not fulfilled on Canada's part. So where do we start? Well, we start with those treaties. They were an original partnership. There is so much richness there. And I guess, if I can go back to the fire burning metaphor, that's where I feel, you know, Canada has so much to relearn. Indigenous peoples, of course, have known it, but there's so much there to build on. But we will need to also bring things. We have modern treaties as well that are also key. How do we keep those evolving, implementing, etc. in a way that's aligned with the declaration, which as we've just seen, recognizes the importance of those instruments? Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you very much for that, Laurie. I'll ask one last question and then we will move to our closing to make sure that we're allowing sufficient time. One of the questions that I think seems simple, but I know that the answer is quite complex, is do you think that primarily the solution to reconciliation is an economic one? And I think the individual asking that question is likely due to the many gaps, socioeconomic inequities that have been noted by a number of the panellists today, whether that's housing, education, breakfast programs were just mentioned. So I don't know if anyone would like to respond to that last question. Go ahead, Caleb.

Caleb Behn: I didn't want to go ahead. I wanted Tim or Brandon, or Angie to take this one.

Valerie Gideon: Angie, sorry, did you want to take it?

Angie Bruce: Well, I wanted to leave it to our NIO partners to see if they wanted to provide first comments to that. I don't know if any of them do.

Brandon MacLeod: I can provide some commentary. If Tim wants to go, I would be very grateful. Yeah, go ahead, Tim. I'll finish off for you.

Tim Argetsinger: Sure. So the question is, is it primarily an economic endeavour?

[Tim Argetsinger appears on screen]

Tim Argetsinger: I would say that it is partially an economic endeavour. In my mind, it is largely a policy and a legal endeavour as well. And some of the challenges where human rights violations are occurring isn't necessarily because the finances aren't available for the provision of those services, whether they be mental health services or services for students with disabilities or Inuit with disabilities, for example. Those are often the outcomes of policy decisions that are made based on priorities that public governments have about the citizens that live in their territories, in their jurisdictions, and about Inuit. So I wouldn't simplify it. I wouldn't agree that it is primarily an economic—that more funding is how you achieve reconciliation. I think depending on the nature of the challenge, that is an important part of the discussion. But I think it is equally and maybe even primarily really a series of policy and legal challenges. And that's part of the work that I mentioned earlier we're doing through the development of the action plan is trying to remedy many of those gaps that exist. Thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you, Tim. And we'll go to Brandon and then Caleb will make a couple of closing comments and then we will move to our closing.

Brandon MacLeod: Yeah, thanks. I would largely agree with Tim.

[Brandon MacLeod appears on screen]

Brandon MacLeod: I look at it as—I would say the primary lens I look at it through is one of inherent jurisdiction. We can receive all the resources that our governments need, that our people need, and if we don't have that built-out structure of our own jurisdiction, I don't think we've really hit where we want to go. And I think that's been evident throughout the remarks that I've made today, although economic reconciliation is, of course, a very important area. I just wanted to make one further comment. There is a question earlier that was, I think, a bit of a more granular question about the decision-making process of the federal government. And I want to make a quick comment, because I think it ties into this, and I don't want to leave this without saying something that's maybe a bit legally provocative, but... Consider in how governments, Indigenous governments work with the federal government decision-making system, consider the role of, for example, cabinet confidentiality, and consider that the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that that is within a body of law called Federal Common Law, which is defined as being within the laws of Canada—so think of the implications of how that works with Section 5 and how that implicates the way our governments work together. And I think that's kind of a key to why I see this as being a matter of inherent jurisdiction. So thanks.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you, Brandon. Caleb.

Caleb Behn: Yeah. One of the things about my brothers is they're very brilliant legal nerds, and so for the civil servants, this is what exists on this side.

[Caleb Behn appears on screen]

Caleb Behn: I agree very much with Brandon and Tim's points on the economic reconciliation issue. What I propose is that economics and money is like a useful short-term mechanism to achieve ostensible reconciliation, but the problem is the real heavy-duty lifting and the possibility intrinsic to the civil service and intrinsic to C-15, as Tim and Brandon both alluded to and Laurie as well, is medium- and long-term shifts. Because, you know, in a budget cycle, you can allocate. And I look forward to DOJ having funding authority formally given the monies recently dictated. But those are like kind of highly granular, to use Brandon's term, like short-term mechanisms. Money is really good at addressing short-term issues. Medium- and long-term issues require a different approach, and so protecting sacred territory, like the Sacred Twin Sister Mountains to my west, 39 kilometres, [inaudible speech], where I went to fast for days when I finished my earthly process. To deal with that reconciliation, because it has massive oil and gas potential and coal potential and wind potential, and it's adjacent to the largest dam in British Columbia, that requires a different temporally framed approach. So economic reconciliation is really good for short-term issues, like the $9-billion settlement on First Nations water, the class action issue, or the $40-billion settlement on kids in care. And we'll see what happens with C-92 at the Supreme Court next year. But the problem with money is that it is not optimized. It's not the right modality of engagement with the real deep systemic issues, and that's my only caution. That's why the UN Declaration matters; it's a systemic response to a systemic issue that can utilize different modalities of engagement, whether it's financial or legal or spiritual, I would argue, which is the most profound, obviously. That's where we have to go, but you can use economic reconciliation in the short-term, and that's appropriate. I mean, you got the floods, you got the fires; you're going to get floods this spring. There are a couple of nations under emergency evacuation right now—you know, support people to have a safe place to take their kids, 100%. But support people to like have jurisdiction over their land and have an appropriate interaction with the natural world: more complex. And that's where economic reconciliation, in my opinion, begins to break down, and you have to engage these other, more profound mechanisms which are embedded in the UN Declaration.

[Valerie Gideon, Caleb Behn, Tim Argetsinger, Brandon MacLeod, Laurie Sargent, Angie Bruce and Diana Kwan appear in video chat panels.]

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language]. Thank you very much, everyone. We will now move to the closing remarks and invite our Elders to share their reflections with you to end the event. I want to thank everybody for your participation today. I'd like to note that the event will be available on YouTube within a couple of days, for about ten days. But it will be formally broadcast on the Canada School of Public Service website later on in the fall, when it's bilingual and in fully accessible format. So a bit of time to wait, but will still be very relevant, so we encourage you to share that with all of your colleagues in your departments. And now I will invite Elder Boston to share her closing reflections.

[Kathleen Boston appears on screen]

Kathleen Boston: Thank you for the stage, the sharing and caring that you all do. For my grandchildren and my daughters, the future looks a lot brighter because of all the work that all of you do. And I truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for that. Sacred grandmothers from the north and the south, the east and the west, we offer your prayers today with pride and respect. We are thankful for Mother Earth and her daily blessings. We are grateful for our families, our friends, our communities and our animal friends. Sacred grandmothers, thank you for your wisdom and guidance as we shared information with everyone in attendance today with the intentions of renewing a positive relationship with the federal government and strengthening the ties with the Indigenous people of these lands. Let us pray for the day when we will no longer need a declaration to tell us how to treat each other. Sacred grandmothers, we ask for your blessings as we begin this journey to eliminate racism and all forms of discrimination. All Indigenous people of this country should have equal opportunities in every aspect: justice, health, fair trade and to caring for our own. Let us be the country that is a role model for the rest of the world. As you take the first steps in learning how to live in peace and harmony together with all the peoples of these lands and all the creatures of these lands, please take a moment from your daily routine to offer words of kindness to someone. Your words can brighten a person's day who may be struggling. May your days be full of many blessings. Please be gentle and kind to yourself. Stay healthy and stay safe. In the spirit of our sacred grandmothers, [indigenous language]. Thank you for hearing my words today.

[Valerie Gideon appears on screen]

Valerie Gideon: Thank you. We'll now turn it over to Knowledge keeper Manitok Thompson.

[Manitok Thompson appears on screen. She has a large qulliq, that is lit, in front of her. She is speaking, but we cannot hear her.]

Valerie Gideon: Sorry, I think you're still on mute.

[Manitok Thompson gets up and unmutes her computer.]

Manitok Thompson: Yay. (laughs) It's been a very interesting day. Thanks to all the comments. I learned a lot and it's been a very good day. I just want to say this to the policy people that do non-insured health benefits; we have the right to a better health care, the Indigenous people. Ten years ago, I was at a federal government staff meeting with 800 people, and I had one thing to say to them, because the elders told me to say something. I usually ask them, "What do you want me to say? I have 1 minute, sometimes 2 minutes, and it better be worth my time." And they said, "Non-insured health benefits have to be reviewed, revised, and the Indigenous peoples have to be part of that revision group." One example, they said, was to get false teeth under that program. It takes more than 11 years to get new false teeth. Inuit ladies use their teeth as a tool to bite, to chew our skins. It's not for cosmetics. Yes, it's for cosmetics, but it's a very powerful tool. It takes us 11 years and sometimes we break them within six months. So there, that's the end of this story for your day, today. Something to think about. Non-insured health benefit has to be changed. Really, it does. Let's pray. [Indigenous language]. Surround the staff today across Canada, 3,000 people, Lord, Holy Spirit, as you move amongst the nations, amongst Canada, we pray that you give them wisdom to make a change in our lives as first Canadians. And Lord, I give a special prayer for Ukraine that you give them power, that you give them might, that you give them rest on their land as Indigenous peoples of that territory. In the name of Jesus, Amen. And I shut my qulliq down after that's been on all day. Thank you.

Valerie Gideon appears on screen]

Valerie Gideon: Elder Commanda.

Claudette Commanda: Yes, well, thank you.

[Claudette Commanda appears on screen. She is holding an eagle feather.]

Claudette Commanda: Thank you for allowing me to be part of today's meeting. Very wise words were shared. And I said it before and I'll say it again, Canada does need a gigantic history lesson, and I'm glad that someone brought that up. It's so important. We cannot move forward with truth or reconciliation without history, and that history is so important. You were speaking about the treaties, and yes, the treaties are very important. As a matter of fact, we know, as First Nations people, we know that treaties are much more powerful and they are indeed much more of the law than the Indian Act, period. We can't forget about the Wampum belts, because the Wampum belts are just as sacred and just as powerful as treaties. As a matter of fact, the Wampum belts—or the Wampum belts because I'm Algonquian and we have Wampum belts in our people's ways of knowing and doing—the Wampum belts contain our laws, and the Wampum belts actually contain our history, our laws, our prophecies. And we also see the Wampum belt as the inherent and original and natural form of treaty making, because we know the treaties, whether they are peace and friendship, pre-confederation, 1 to 11; they're written words. But our Wampum belts contain our treaties as well and they're so spiritual, as we see the treaties as something very spiritual as well. But I'm going to end with this—oh, before I end, I want to say that in our Wampum belts, my grandfather, during his lifetime, he was our Wampum belt carrier. And one of our sacred Wampum belts speaks about sharing. When you had that question about economic reconciliation, well, we see it as sharing. And so this one belt of ours is very sacred; it speaks about sharing. And it was about sharing and living in peaceful harmony and coexistence. And we have heard it from our Elder here when she speaks about her people and how important it is to incorporate the health benefits. Well, when we talk about sharing this economic reconciliation, the Wampum belt spoke about sharing. And in that sharing is for our people to have our equal of everything else that Canadians have. And my grandfather always said, "I'm still waiting for my share." But we have shared and we have shared and we have shared. We have shared the land. We have shared our knowledge. We have shared our ways. And it's time now that it is shared with us, too, as well, if you're going to call it the economy or wealth. But I want to leave you with this. Malcolm X had said the greatest qualifier of research is history. And we know history has told us, history has shown, that laws have been made and those laws have had a detrimental impact on First Nations people or Indigenous peoples. So we need to reflect on history, because history speaks volumes of truth. In the words of Chief Joseph from the Nez Spear tribe, he said, "It does not take many words to speak the truth." So in reference to the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the implementation on the declaration or the Action Plan on the declaration, whatever you do and however you do it, please always remember the children. Always. Because laws were created that had a detrimental impact on our children and especially grassroots. So let's move forward. And when you write that action plan and you implement it, remember the children, our grassroots children. Do it for the children. Always the children.

[Claudette Commanda holds the eagle feather aloft]

Claudette Commanda:  [Indigenous language]. Thank you.

[Valerie Gideon appears on screen]

Valerie Gideon: [Indigenous language], everyone. Merci beaucoup à tout le monde.

Laurie Sargent: [Indigenous language]. Thank you. [Indigenous language].

[The video chat fades to CSPS logo.]

[The Government of Canada logo appears and fades to black.]

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