NDP Calls on Pallister Government to Urge Ottawa to Recognize Indigenous People as Founding Nations

May 18, 2017

NDP MLA Amanda Lathlin today urged the Pallister government to call on the federal government to recognize Indigenous People as founding nations of Canada.

“This year, Canadians celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s time to recognize Indigenous people as founders of Canada,” Lathlin said. “Recognizing the role of Indigenous nations and people in the founding of Canada is a step towards building a meaningful nation-to-nation relationship and an important step toward reconciliation.”

Lathlin will introduce a private member’s resolution in the Legislative Assembly today urging the provincial government to lobby the Government of Canada to recognize Indigenous People as founding nations. Lathlin noted Indigenous People were the first to govern this land, were present for thousands of years prior to Confederation and were self-determining nations with distinct cultures, languages, laws, traditions and unique understanding of the land and environment.

“Indigenous People provided land, knowledge, military and other supports to sustain colonial life,” Lathlin said. “The contribution of the British and the French are widely accepted and recognized as foundational to the existence of Canada but the contributions of the Indigenous nations are not widely accepted or recognized.”

While most Canadians are taught that our country has two founding nations, our true history tells us that Indigenous nations have contributed enormously from before Confederation up to the present day. Canada's sesquicentennial is the right time to update our founding narrative to properly recognize the contributions of Indigenous people, cultures and languages, Lathlin added.

“We urge the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba to call on the federal government to give formal recognition of Indigenous nations as founding people of Canada and to protect and promote their languages, cultures, history, traditions and laws in ways similar to the government’s protection and promotion of the languages, cultures, history, traditions and laws of the British and French founding people.”