The 10 Principles

Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples

The Canadian Government has recognized the importance of ending the denial of Indigenous rights and acknowledges the harm caused by assimilationist policies.

They aim to support fundamental change where Indigenous Peoples are self-determining, self-governing, and increasingly self-sufficient, and no longer marginalized by the Indian Act. The government also acknowledges the importance of Indigenous cultural traditions and customs and recognizes the needs and experiences of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. Further, the government seeks to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples everywhere.

The Government of Canada has published ‘Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples‘ pledging their renewed commitment to a lasting and just relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

These Principles are a starting point to support efforts to end the denial of Indigenous rights that led to disempowerment and assimilationist policies and practices. They seek to turn the page in an often troubled relationship by advancing fundamental change whereby Indigenous peoples increasingly live in strong and healthy communities with thriving cultures. To achieve this change, it is recognized that Indigenous nations are self-determining, self-governing, increasingly self-sufficient, and rightfully aspire to no longer be marginalized, regulated, and administered under the Indian Act and similar instruments. The Government of Canada acknowledges that strong Indigenous cultural traditions and customs, including languages, are fundamental to rebuilding Indigenous nations. As part of this rebuilding, the diverse needs and experiences of Indigenous women and girls must be considered as part of this work, to ensure a future where non-discrimination, equality and justice are achieved. The rights of Indigenous peoples, wherever they live, shall be upheld.

— ‘Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples‘, Government of Canada

In summary, the Government of Canada recognizes that:

  1. All relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.
  2. Reconciliation is a fundamental purpose of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  3. The honour of the Crown guides the conduct of the Crown in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples. 
  4. Indigenous self-government is part of Canada’s evolving system of cooperative federalism and distinct orders of government.
  5. Treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.
  6. Meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples aims to secure their free, prior, and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights on their lands, territories, and resources.
  7. Respecting and implementing rights is essential and that any infringement of section 35 rights must by law meet a high threshold of justification which includes Indigenous perspectives and satisfies the Crown’s fiduciary obligations.
  8. Reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with Indigenous nations, that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.
  9. Reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships.
  10. A distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of the First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit are acknowledged,  affirmed, and implemented.

Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation views the Government of Canada’s ‘Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples‘ as an official document and a fundamental guide to ongoing reconciliation efforts.

We encourage you to download the PDF version of the Principles, and get familiar with them, as they will be the basis for much discussion as we progress toward self-governance and self-determination. Printed copies are also now available at our office.

A summary poster of the Principles is also available.