Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers responsible for Aboriginal Matters and Leaders of National Aboriginal Organizations

BACKGROUNDER – Statement of the Aboriginal Summit

Leaders of the five National Aboriginal Organizations following an Aboriginal Summit held May 19, 1998 in Quebec City released the following statement. The unanimous Statement represents the collective view of the leaders heading into discussions with Federal and Provincial Aboriginal Affairs Ministers.

Leaders agreed that the re-balancing of the roles and responsibilities of the federation must respect the Aboriginal and Treaty rights protected in the Constitution. Leaders agreed that in any re-balancing Aboriginal peoples must be involved as full and equal participants.

Leaders agreed, as recommended in RCAP, that the social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal peoples and communities requires a fundamental commitment to the redistribution of lands and resources to provide an economic base for the effective exercise of Aboriginal governance on a Nations to Nations basis.

Aboriginal leaders agreed that there must be inclusive Aboriginal participation at all levels in changes to the social policy renewal process including seats on the Ministerial Council for Social Policy Renewal, participation in sectoral initiatives and in the process of developing a National Framework Agreement.

With respect to the development of a National Framework Agreement mandated by First Minister's on December 12, 1997, Leaders agreed that such a framework will only be effective if there is full and equal participation of Aboriginal peoples in the process and the resulting Agreement.

Leaders agreed that Canada's social union must be premised on the full recognition of Aboriginal peoples and their governments, including full recognition and respect for treaty and Aboriginal rights and the exercise of jurisdiction over their peoples and territories.

The Leaders agreed that it is imperative that Aboriginal peoples be involved in discussions and decision-making relating to children and youth because of the large proportion of children and youth in the Aboriginal population.

In particular, Leaders agreed that Aboriginal people must participate as equals in the development of the National Children's Agenda, provincial reinvestment strategies resulting from the National Child benefit and in the development of a National Youth Strategy.

Leaders agreed that the federal government must acknowledge and accept its full treaty, historical, constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities for all Aboriginal peoples.

Leaders agreed that a comprehensive partnership approach is essential to address the social, economic and environmental conditions of Aboriginal men and women. Such an approach must promote equality of Aboriginal men and women. It must also ensure that the needs of and resources for Aboriginal peoples are factored into every federal/provincial/territorial agreement or arrangement and flow from a framework of principles based on Aboriginal and treaty rights and federal fiduciary responsibility.

Aboriginal Leaders also reviewed the Communiqué from their meeting with Provincial Premiers of November, 18, 1997 and demanded that the Federal Government respond to the call for a First Ministers Conference to enable all levels of Government to respond to the RCAP recommendations.

            Assembly of First Nations
            Congress of Aboriginal Peoples


            Inuit Tapirisat of Canada



            Metis National Council



            Native Women's Association of Canada