Innu Nation pulls out of N.L. premier’s Indigenous roundtable 

The Innu Nation in Labrador has informed Premier Andrew Furey that all Innu leaders have withdrawn from his Indigenous roundtable. 

This decision arises from their dissatisfaction with the way the provincial government is handling concerns related to NunatuKavut and the perceived “conflict of interest and bias” of Indigenous Affairs Minister Lisa Dempster.

In a letter dated October 18 and addressed to Premier Furey, Innu leaders expressed their concerns about the provincial government’s efforts to include the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) in discussions about Indigenous matters. The Innu Nation does not recognize NCC as a recognized Indigenous group. The NunatuKavut community council claims to represent about 6,000 Inuit in central and southern Labrador, but disputes exist regarding its Inuit identity.

The letter, signed by leaders from the Innu Nation, the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, and the Mushuau Innu First Nation, accuses the premier’s office of failing to address concerns about Minister Dempster’s “conflict of interest and evidence of her bias.” Dempster is a member of NunatuKavut.

This move comes after calls from both Innu and Inuit communities for Minister Dempster’s resignation, following Furey’s announcement of plans to apologize to residential school survivors in Cartwright. The decision to make the apology in Cartwright, with only representatives from the provincial government and NunatuKavut in attendance, sparked outrage among the Innu Nation and the Nunatsiavut government.

The Innu Nation suggests that the matters discussed at the roundtable can be addressed through direct dialogue with their office and staff. Despite these developments, the Premier’s Office emphasizes Furey’s commitment to working with all Indigenous governments and organizations in the province.

The premier’s roundtable has been a platform for biweekly meetings with Indigenous leaders and an annual face-to-face meeting involving Indigenous stakeholders. These meetings aim to facilitate meaningful discussions and respectful conversations for the benefit of Indigenous communities.

Source: CBC News

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