Algonquin Nation demands equality at Ottawa site
The Algonquin Nation is dismayed at the refusal of Minister Bennett, the Government of Canada and the three National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs): the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Metis National Council (MNC) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) to include the Algonquins as the full and equal partners in the future Indigenous Peoples Space at 100 Wellington Street in Ottawa. In particular, the MNC and ITK are not willing to accept the Algonquin as a fourth partner in the signature of a lease, or in the creation of a not-for-profit corporation to manage the project. They insist that the Algonquin be part of the AFN delegation with the other 633 First Nations communities, despite the fact that the Algonquin are the titleholders to the land. The Algonquin also state that they will never allow title of the land to be transferred to a not-for-profit corporation or any other entity.
Recently National Chief Bellegarde called on Canada to recognize unceded Algonquin title of the Indigenous Peoples Space, and he organized a meeting with the leadership of the ITK and MNC. The ITK and MNC cancelled this meeting at the last minute without any explanation. A letter from the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations supports the participation of the Algonquin, but they will not recognize their equal partnership in the process.
The Algonquin Nation demands respect on their traditional unceded Algonquin territory, in all aspects of decision-making between the AFN, the MNC, ITK, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations. In this new era of reconciliation, the Algonquin Nation wants to continue to work with the federal government and the NIOs on this most critical issue. Reconciliation will only be achieved through a Nation-to-Nation basis. The Algonquin Nation is the host nation of the National Capital Region and as such, has a distinct Nation status compared to private agreements with corporations such as the three NIOs.
Since there have been discussions of the long-term plans to transfer the land to a corporation or trust managed by the NIOs, the Algonquin Nation must to be included as an equal partner from the beginning of this partnership. The Algonquin Nation will take all steps necessary to ensure that if there is any transfer of land, it must be returned to the Algonquin Nation.
Councillor, Kitigan Zibi