A Lack of Journalistic Rigour on the Part of Richard Martineau
WENDAKE, QC, March 5 – In reaction to the editorial of Richard Martineau in yesterday’s edition of Journal de Québec titled “What the phoque!”, the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), while not pretending to represent the Inuit People, denounces the irresponsible remarks made on Aboriginal peoples, particularly on the Inuits. “Mr. Martineau should educate himself a little more on the issue of aboriginal rights before going that far with such controversial remarks “, deplores the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.”This editorial is a blatant example of the ignorance of certain journalists of Quebec on the rights and the status of Aboriginal peoples. We have ancestral rights that are recognized at the international level and at the level of the Canadian Constitution. The Inuit people, along with the ten other Aboriginal nations of Quebec, are officially recognized as nations by the National Assembly since the mid 80’s, with everything that it entails”, states Ghislain Picard, who is saddened to see such a reputable journalist demonstrate such an intellectual laziness. “To confuse an aboriginal nation with an ethnic group is to show an unforgivable ignorance on the part of a professional newspaper journalist. The Inuits, just like the First Nations, form distinct peoples who have their own legal status.”
The AFNQL insists on reminding Mr. Martineau that Canada was built on lands that were never surrendered by the Aboriginal peoples. The Aboriginal peoples of Canada own titles and rights over vast territories. They also possess their own orders of governance and the right to self-determination. The recent Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples, voted for adoption by France among others, came and confirmed these rights at the international level.
In closing, the AFNQL is hoping that this tendency that certain journalists have to criticize the specific rights of First Nations, by maintaining certain myths which invites non-tolerance by the non-aboriginal population, will come to an end. Most definitely, this is not the best way to improve relations between Aboriginals and non-aboriginals. Instead, there is a need to find better ways to live in harmony, while mutually respecting each other.
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional organization regrouping the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
For further information: Alain Garon, Communication Officer, AFNQL, (418) 842-5020