Premier and Treaty Six Nations work to improve relations

New steps have been taken to improve relations between the Government of Alberta and Treaty Six First Nations.

New steps have been taken to improve relations between the Government of Alberta and Treaty Six First Nations.

Premier Rachel Notley and Treaty Six chiefs met Wednesday, Oct. 7 in the first steps to realign the relationships between the two groups. Treaty Six Grand Chief Tony Alexis said the goal was to redefine those relationships and he suggests this was a positive step forward.

Notley added it was a historic event with all the Treaty Six chiefs in attendance. She said the process was relationship-based.

“There was a need to have some good, forthright conversations,” said Notley.

While there were no decisions that came out of the meeting, Alexis said First Nations chiefs previously did not have a chance to make some “heart to heart” conversations with the Alberta government, but all that has changed with the new leadership.

“We as chiefs as well, have made that move to work together,” said Alexis.

One question presented to Alexis related to Bill 22, the Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act, which is aimed at legislating consultations with First Nations. Alexis said this was not the focus of the meeting.

“We wanted to discuss more on the higher level, how are we going to work together so that we do a lot of the heavy lifting at the beginning,” said Alexis.

Notley said moving forward there are a number of issues to work with the First Nations such as the United Nations Declaration of Aboriginal Rights. She added that there is a desire from the chiefs to meet more often with government.

“It truly is about establishing those relationships and re-framing them and then going forward,” said Notley.