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September 23, 2009, Traditional territory of Treaty No.6…On the second day of an international Indigenous gathering, a well respected and renowned expert on Indigenous issues gave an address to Chiefs, elders and community members attending Treaties 1-11 Gathering on the Enoch Cree Nation.Dr. Miguel Alfonso-Martinez, Expert on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations (UN) spoke to over 800 people in attendance. Among the leaders was National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Shawn Atleo who said that the AFN exists to support initiatives like Treaties 1-11 and will work to advance unity between all Treaty Nations in Canada.
“I believe the Treaties are as valid and sacred today as the day each were signed, and I believe Canada is obligated to fully recognize and implement the Treaties which is supported by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and I quote “Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of Treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with states or their successors and to have states honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.” This is an international declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly, September 2007 and we intend to see the standards for our rights honoured,” concluded National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo.
Chief Ovide Mercredi, National Spokesperson for Treaties 1-11 in his statements expressed appreciation directly to Dr. Martinez and praised him for the extremely important work he has conducted at the international level to advance the understanding of Indigenous peoples with the Nations states. “The UN Study on Treaties commissioned by the UN and the final report by Dr. Martinez is one that all peoples should come to understand for it will greatly improve the relations between the Indigenous peoples and Parliamentarians of Canada, a relationship that would be altered forever in a positive way,” said Chief Ovide Mercredi, National Spokesperson for Treaties 1-11.
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