First Nations Sovereignty in Canada

Jori Reiken
4 min readApr 6, 2021

Quebecs long standing desire for sovereignty has been in our history from confederation and even into today, the topic is discussed within classrooms, courts, and even when talking about First Nations issues with the Government of Canada. Now more than ever, FNMI sovereignty is a large possibility for Canada. What the nation saw in Quebec has set precedent for how a province or even members of the FNMI could secede from Canada. The letter, Sovereignty will indeed be on the next government’s agenda: First Nations sovereignty! Shows readers that there is a possibility of change within the relationship between FNMI people and Canada that could change the country forever. First Nations sovereignty is a real possibility and we see that through movements for sovereignty, the history of treaty rights and Quebec’s involvement in the conversation.

The country has slowly been moving away from the issue of Quebec sovereignty as we saw in the recent elections with the newest Quebec Political party, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), who announced that they were going to put all plans for the referendum to rest for the next 10 years to focus on the economy. As well, the Parti Quebecois (PQ) minister, Francois Legault had said that he would vote against independence if there was a vote in the near future. As the country has been moving away from Quebec sovereignty, First Nations sovereignty is becoming more and more of a possibility each day. On Monday October 20, 2014, Ghislain Picard, a member of the Assembly of First Nations, took part in an assembly on parliament hill. There he declared “I am Innu; I am sovereignist,” the crowd gave him a standing ovation, although, there was a slight misunderstanding, he was not talking about quebec sovereignty, but First Nations.

First Nations Treaties are agreements between the Canadian Government and First Nations people, they show a theme of continuity that has been woven through since the beginning of Canada. These treaties have been used as everything from domestic contracts to international treaties, and in spite of errors in negotiations, revisions and translation, the process of treaties has helped developed constitutional principles where First Nations rights are essential. These agreements are making it challenging for First Nations people to become sovereign, as well, for new generations of Canadians to interpret. The FNMI people are not taking treaties as a challenge, “Our right to self-determination means we have jurisdiction (the right, power and authority) to…