(May 31, 2013) - Mr. Speaker, last June in this Legislature, I expressed our government’s formal commitment to a set of principles and key actions to strengthen and renew our relationships with our Aboriginal government partners. “Respect, Recognition, Responsibility” is a foundational piece upon which all of our actions and commitments are built.
A cornerstone of our approach is our commitment to work with Aboriginal governments who are interested in formalizing their government-to-government relationship with the GNWT.
Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, May 23, we met with the Chiefs of the Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations in Yellowknife and signed a memorandum of understanding.
The MOU formalizes our relationship with the Akaitcho and allows us to work together on matters of mutual interest. The agreement also describes the way our governments will share information.
After the signing we held our first government-to-government meeting under the terms of this agreement. We talked about the potential to work together to address unauthorized occupancy of land in Akaitcho Territory, and school facility planning.
Mr. Speaker, over the course of the past year, our government has concluded separate but similar intergovernmental agreements with the Tłįchǫ Government, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and the Northwest Territory Métis Nation. We have held similar government-to-government meetings twice with the Tłįchǫ Government and once with the Gwich’in Tribal Council. I believe all governments are pleased with the way that these meetings have been unfolding. We have made progress together on our shared priority issues.
With or without a formalized government-to-government agreement in place, this government continues to meet with all Aboriginal governments in all regions of the Northwest Territories. We continue to work with Dehcho First Nations, senior GNWT officials have been engaged in weekly bilateral meetings with Dehcho officials on governance and land related issues, strengthening our relationship through a better understanding of each other’s aspirations.
Mr. Speaker, strong, effective and efficient governments are essential for helping Northerners achieve their social, environmental and economic goals. Aboriginal governments play a role in this and are important partners with the Government of the Northwest Territories. Formal agreements between us help our governments address issues that matter to our people and work together more effectively. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships with all Aboriginal governments in the Northwest Territories.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.