The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) formally called on different Indigenous organizations to end the disunity and inaccurate attacks on them and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). 

“That’s the frustrating part. As stated numerous times, we could be working together,” said Kim Beaudin, the national vice-chief of CAP. 

The Pioneer had a chance to talk to Beaudin about the attacks and the roots of all of this disunity among the Indigenous organizations. He said the three Indigenous organizations, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Métis National Council (MNC), they’re not focused on bringing CAP and NWAC in all important policy discussions and announcements. Canada plays a huge role in this problem. 

Beaudin explained that it all started in 2018 when the Liberal government emerged. After Trudeau was elected, everything started to change. From then on, there was a significant shift in ideology and policy. The attitude of Canada or the Liberal government had also changed. He added the government doesn’t really care or has nothing to say about some of the issues affecting their people unless it significantly impacts society. 

The Former Minister of Justice, David Lametti, had announced an Indigenous justice strategy, earmarked budgeted money and invited Indigenous organizations to apply. 

When CAP submitted a proposal, the budget went down significantly with the interference of Former Minister Lametti, Beaudin said. “I was in shock when I heard that. A city minister would step in and become the micromanager for the justice strategies  and financial gatekeeper of the voices of the 80 per cent Indigenous people living off reserve.”

Beaudin also added that this problem was not only with the government of Canada but also with the Crown — their job is to honour the treaty, but they don’t. 

As the Liberals rose to power and changes occurred, the three Indigenous organizations also changed. 

“There’s policy shift right now. And the federal government believes that MNC, AFN and ITK speak for all Indigenous people in Canada — that they are the voice of everybody living on and off reserve. The Liberals believe that. And that’s the problem,” Beaudin said. “None of that is true, but that’s what they say. So it’s frustrating.” 

With this belief, Beaudin said that it started to impact the people and staff. They began to believe these three organizations were constitutional organizations and government. And so, they started to develop their policies and their programs. 

“They started to leave out thousands and thousands of Indigenous people completely [through this],” he added. 

Beaudin added they tried very hard to work with these organizations and reach out to them via numerous letters, but it didn’t work out. 

When asked what these organizations’ response was after the CAP called them out, Beaudin explained that they just sent a letter. 

“[They said we are not] a constitutionally recognized organization and that we don’t have treaty rights,” Beaudin said.

Beaudin also shared that changing the government is the only way to change the situation. “I’m really hoping that we can establish a much better relationship with Canada going forward — that’s what I’m hoping.” 

He said CAP will continue to work with the NWAC because they understand their struggles.

By Julia Archelene Magsombol, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 04, 2023 at 02:10

This item reprinted with permission from   Columbia Valley Pioneer   Invermere, British Columbia
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