On November 3, Paul Prosper, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief (Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) and Portfolio Holder for Lands, Territories and Resources, on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, formally launched the joint partnership between the Government of Canada and the AFN on the reform of the specific claims process.
This collaborative process will build on the groundwork laid by the AFN during its national dialogue sessions with First Nations in 2017 and 2019, and their work on the specific claims reform proposal.
The ultimate goal of the Specific Claims Reform Co-Development Process is the establishment of an independent Specific Claims Resolution Centre. This is something First Nations have been calling on the Canadian government to create for decades.
Together, Canada and the AFN will establish a centre that will act as a neutral body to accelerate the resolution of claims. They will make resolution tools like mediation and facilitation more readily available to First Nations while providing them with the resources and information needed to develop their claims.
The exact mandate of the Centre will be at the heart of the co-development work with Canada, the AFN and other First Nation partner organizations.
The reform process will be guided by the principles enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and will contribute to advancing reconciliation between First Nations and Canada. Honouring Canada’s legal obligations to First Nations and working collaboratively to renew relationships are key to addressing historical wrongs with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.