FSIN calls for naming of Indigenous governor general to ‘reinvigorate’ the role

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WATCH: Following Julie Payette's resignation, First Nation's leaders are calling for an Indigenous person to replace her as the next governor general – Jan 27, 2021

With Julie Payette stepping down as governor general Thursday, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSNI) is calling for an Indigenous person to be her replacement.

Payette resigned last week following a scathing review into allegations she presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.

Read more: Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigning amid ‘scathing’ Rideau Hall workplace review

In the wake of finding her replacement, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron is calling for an Indigenous person to take on the role.

“When the newcomers came to these lands all those years ago, the first relationship the Queens’ subjects formed was with First Nations,” he wrote in a press release Monday, calling for Canada to “honour the history of that relationship.”

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Read more: First Nations leaders call out Ottawa’s ‘nonsense’ litigation on Jordan’s Principle expansion

“For many, many decades that governor general position has fell off track when it came to our treaty relationship with the Crown and our First Nation people,” Cameron told Global News.

“The governor general would make it a point to come to our treaty territories and listen, learn and take our direction from our knowledge keepers … They lost the vision somewhere along the way.”

The FSIN, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, argues having a First Nations person in the role will help promote Canada nationally from an Indigenous perspective.

“We want to reinvigorate the role of the governor general and the Crown relationship with our Inherent and Treaty Rights holders,” Cameron said.

“Enough talk of reconciliation and nation to nation, and ‘the most important relationship is with First Nation people’ — enough of that. Now is where we want implementation and action.”

Read more: A chance to reimagine the role of Governor General

It would be the first time an Indigenous person stepped into the job.

Until a successor is named, Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner is assuming the duties of the governor general.

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