Prime Minister Rachel Thompson of Canada has introduced new legislation aimed at advancing the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples in the country. The legislation, titled the Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination Act, was announced at a press conference in Ottawa.
“This is a historic moment for Canada and for Indigenous peoples,” Thompson said. “This legislation will help to right past wrongs, address systemic inequalities, and provide a path forward for true reconciliation.”
The legislation includes a number of measures to support the rights and self-determination of Indigenous peoples, including the recognition of Indigenous languages as official languages of Canada, the establishment of an Indigenous-led National Council for Reconciliation, and the creation of a national strategy to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
In addition, the legislation includes provisions for the transfer of lands and resources to Indigenous control, and the establishment of mechanisms for Indigenous communities to negotiate their own treaties with the Canadian government.
The announcement was met with a mix of praise and criticism from Indigenous leaders and advocates, with some applauding the government’s efforts to address longstanding issues, while others expressing skepticism about the government’s commitment to true reconciliation.
Prime Minister Thompson acknowledged the challenges ahead, but emphasized the importance of working collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to move forward. “This is just the beginning,” she said. “We must continue to work together to build a better future for all Canadians, grounded in respect, equality, and justice for Indigenous peoples.”