Evidence of meeting #64 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was rights.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ellen Gabriel  Indigenous Land Defender from Kanehsatà:ke, As an Individual
Dahti Tsetso  Deputy Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative
Bruce McIvor  Partner, First Peoples Law

6:25 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Jenica Atwin

I'm so sorry, Ms. Tsetso. I have to move on to Ms. Idlout for the last question for this round for two and a half minutes.

6:25 p.m.


Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

[Member spoke in Inuktitut, interpreted as follows:]

Thank you to both of you for presenting. It's very important.

I will be passing on the mike to Mike for his question.

May 10th, 2023 / 6:25 p.m.


Mike Morrice Green Kitchener Centre, ON

Thank you so much, Ms. Idlout. It's an honour to sit at this table next to you.

Thank you also to this committee for conducting such an important study.

Thank you, Ms. Tsetso and Mr. McIvor, for your testimony this afternoon.

I represent a community that's part of block two of the Haldimand tract. It's the traditional territory of the Anishinabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples, the 950,000 acres of land given to the Six Nations in 1784, 10 kilometres on each side of the Grand River. Today, Six Nations of the Grand River lands comprise less than 5% of what was originally granted to them in 1784.

When I speak with indigenous leaders back home, they tell me very clearly that reconciliation begins with land back. I'm keen to respond to them with the parliamentary tools available to me as an MP—for example, with respect to sharing information about parcels of land in Kitchener that are owned by the federal government.

I'd appreciate your advice—maybe starting with you, Ms. Tsetso, assuming we're short on time, if you have any advice, and if not, going to Mr. McIvor—for me, for this committee and for other parliamentarians who are in positions like mine who want to consider advocating for processes for returning federal land back to indigenous communities.

6:30 p.m.

Deputy Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Dahti Tsetso

Thank you.

You know, I feel like I'm going to likely harp on the same types of messages. I've been able to connect with indigenous communities from across the country. This afternoon I heard from an indigenous leader who was from just outside Winnipeg. It's a very similar context in the sense that it's more of an urban-based reality.

For me, coming back to the whole idea of land back, it really is about that assertion of decision-making authorities over land. How is that community being supported to assert their decision-making authority over their lands? How are they being resourced to be in an empowered position to do so? From my experience, things like the guardians program give tools back to communities to be in that position, to be the eyes and ears of their own land. That then informs the resource decision-making around their territories, but it also enables them to have an empowered voice when dealing with other levels of government.

For me, for all of the communities I've engaged with, programs like guardians can empower that conversation and empower that dialogue, but for all the indigenous communities that I've ever worked with, it really comes back to the decision-making authority. How are they being empowered to be resourced to assert their decision-making within their home territory?

6:30 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Jenica Atwin

Thank you very much, Mr. Morrice. Unfortunately, we are out of time.

Mr. McIvor, if you'd like to provide a written response to that answer, we'd certainly love to hear your thoughts as well.

I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today. Thank you for your testimony for this study.

Thank you for our committee members. We will adjourn.