December 16, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is profoundly disappointed that the Government of Canada has decided to exclude CAP and the Native Women’s Association of Canada from bilateral reconciliation talks.
“A key pillar for reconciliation is inclusion,” says CAP National Chief Robert Bertrand. “Both the Congress and NWAC represent crucial segments of Canada’s Indigenous population. Without our two organizations at the table hundreds of thousands of Indigenous voices will fall on deaf ears.”
Over 70% of Indigenous Peoples now live off-reserve and in urban areas. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples provides critical programming to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples. In 1999, CAP Leader Harry Daniels picked up the fight for Metis and Non-Status Indians asserting their rights under the Canadian Constitution. On April 14th 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that 600,000 Metis and Non-Status Indians were indeed “Indians” under the Canadian Constitution.
“Despite this disappointing omission, CAP is encouraged by the Prime Minister’s commitment to meeting with us early in the new year,” says Chief Bertrand. “We are committed to maintaining a respectful relationship with the federal government to ensure our constituents, and their needs, are addressed.”
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The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve. Today, over 70% of Indigenous people live off-reserve.