News / Saskatoon

Rights for off-reserve First Nations focus of Senate Committee meeting

The rights of First Nations people living off reserve was the focus of a meeting held between the Canadian Senate Committee on Human Rights and local First Nation groups, Wednesday morning.

Member of the Committee Patrick Brazeau said they’re travelling across Western Canada collecting this information to try and find out if those who are living off reserve are getting what they’re entitled to as First Nations.

“This event is very important because it’s one of the first of it’s kind in Canadian history to actually hear specifically from off-reserve First Nation citizens in terms of their human rights and access to programs and services and seeing if there are any discrepancies or discrimination that exists” said Brazeau.

He continued, “We do know that First Nations people who live off reserve are often discriminated against by their own leaders, because of the fact they chose to move off the reserve.”

However, fourth vice-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Simon Bird said he feels the federal government is trying to find ways to pass off their responsibilities to First Nations living off reserve to other levels of government.

“I do believe that our treaty rights and that our inherit rights, have been for too long avoided and neglected and we need to make sure people understand that our treaty right was never properly implemented,” said Bird.

The committee was in Winnipeg prior to Saskatoon and will be stopping in Vancouver next.

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