Beginning on opposite ends of the country, caravans of First Nations leaders, citizens, and their supporters will travel to Ottawa, growing in number and strength as they go.
The Western segment of the caravan, led by Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, departed from Vancouver early on April 22. They will then travel the Trans-Canada highway, meeting with more caravan participants from the Prairies and Central Canada along the way.
An eastern caravan will leave on April 26th from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. The Southern Ontario caravan, led by Chief Roberta Jamieson, will leave on April 27th.
The caravan will arrive in Ottawa on April 27th. The next day, they will meet at Victoria Island at noon, and proceed to Parliament Hill, where the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs will have resumed its clause-by-clause examination of Bill C-7, the so-called First Nations Governance Act.
The Assembly of First Nations will hold a Special Confederacy at the Marriott Hotel in Ottawa on April 29th & 30th to discuss the current state of federal legislation relating to First Nations, which includes Bill C-7, Bill C-6 (the Claims Resolution Act), and Bill C-19 (the Fiscal Institutions Act).
These three intertwined Bills make up a suite of legislation that will entrench the Indian Act and infringe on the Constitutionally recognized rights of First Nations peoples. First Nations are calling for a new cooperative approach that will deal with the urgent social and economic priorities of First Nations citizens while working towards true self-government.
First Nations across the country oppose the First Nations Governance Act and the rest of this suite of legislation. They will rally in Ottawa to show support for First Nations rights and opposition to the Minister of Indian Affairs’ colonial approach.
The Federal Government must be convinced not to pursue its attempts to infringe on Aboriginal and treaty rights. First Nations and their supporters from across Canada are hitting the road to do just that. The caravan will be joined by other First Nations organizations and supporters from across the country, as it makes its way to Ottawa.