February 15, 2018 12:49 pm
Updated: February 15, 2018 1:05 pm

Liberals to rethink definition of ‘nation’ in talks with Indigenous leaders

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett responds to a question during a session at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Wednesday December 7, 2016.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

The Indigenous relations minister is shedding more light on the federal government’s pledge to overhaul its relationship with Indigenous Peoples, which includes rethinking what constitutes a nation.

Carolyn Bennett is talking with Indigenous leaders from Quebec and Labrador the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to develop a new framework for recognizing and implementing Indigenous rights.

She says Indigenous groups should not have to surrender their rights in exchange for land or money, which has long been part of the treaty negotiation process.

Bennett describes the process as flawed in the way it pits the government against Indigenous groups for lengthy, costly battles in the court system.

READ MORE: Trudeau Liberals announce new legislative framework on Indigenous rights

The minister will travel to Atlantic Canada to canvass First Nations groups for their input on the proposed framework, which is expected to be unveiled later this year.

Trudeau has said a new framework will help First Nations who are interested to reach self-government and break away from the Indian Act, which Bennett describes as a straitjacket.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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