Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras urges Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon to apologize for remarks he made in the media this week about Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
“I call on Minister Nixon to retract the statements he’s made towards Chief Adam and issue an apology”, says Regional Chief Poitras. “These comments further hurtful and false stereotypes used to support the dismissal of First Nations’ rights. They have no place in our society.”
On Feb. 11, Minister Nixon appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics where he discussed First Nation’s concerns about the proposed Teck frontier mine. He told host Vassy Kapelos that Chief Adam “continues to primarily focus on money.”
Chief Adam, who is a supporter of the Teck project, has expressed concerns that Alberta is not adequately mitigating the mine’s environmental impacts to First Nations.
“Divisive statements like this do nothing to support reconciliation and respectful relations between governments and First Nations. Minister Nixon’s ill-advised remarks further highlights the need for governments to better understand and respect First Nation Treaty and inherent rights over their traditional territories,” the Regional Chief says.
Nixon’s comments on the CBC were made a day prior to an all-Chiefs meeting with Premier Jason Kenney and Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson.
“At Thursday’s meeting with all the Alberta Chiefs, the Premier spoke poignantly about the importance of Alberta upholding the spirit of reconciliation and working collaboratively with First Nations. I encourage Minister Nixon to reflect on these words.
True partnership with First Nations must include a firm commitment to dialogue on a government-to-government level and chart a path forward together,” Regional Chief Poitras says.
“I urge the Government of Alberta to enter into respectful dialogue with Treaty No. 8 (Alberta) First Nations; do their due diligence in ensuring their needs are met; and respect First Nations’ right to exercise their authority within their territories.”