(YELLOWKNIFE) Monday, November 2, 2020 – Today, the Legislative Assembly established a Special Committee on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs.
The Special Committee is focused on encouraging discussions and producing recommendations in relation to Aboriginal Rights negotiations and reconciliation with the Northwest Territories’ Indigenous Peoples. The creation of this Special Committee addresses two of Caucus’ 22 priorities: Settle and implement treaty, land, resources, and self-government agreements; and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Committee will receive detailed reports on the status of unresolved negotiations and have the means to access papers, records or people that assist the Committee in conducting business, including engaging with Indigenous governments and organizations. In turn the Committee shall report to the House and may provide advice to the Minister responsible for Executive and Indigenous Affairs.
The Committee shall be comprised of two Members of the Executive Council and Three Regular Members of the Legislative Assembly. The Executive Council has recommended R.J. Simpson and Caroline Wawzonek to be Committee Members, and the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight has put forward Lesa Semmler, Steve Norn and Rylund Johnson to complete the Committee.
“The creation of this Special Committee brings us one step closer to achieving a healthier relationship between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Territories. We are taking the time to focus on this and ensure this is something that we do, and do right, within our time at the Legislative Assembly. These were the very first priorities on our list we created together at the beginning of our legislative term, and I am very pleased that action has begun to complete those priorities,” says Committee Member Lesa Semmler.
“Governments have an obligation to listen to and respect the will and priorities of all their residents, and to make special efforts to overcome any barriers that have been created due to the historical legacy of colonization and systemic discrimination. That is why the Government of the Northwest Territories has made concrete commitments in its mandate to advance the priorities of the Legislative Assembly to settle and implement claims and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Establishing a Special Committee on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs with Regular Members of the Legislative Assembly was one of those commitments, and Cabinet is pleased to be taking this important step with the Assembly today. We look forward to working closely with the Committee and all MLAs to encourage discussions and develop recommendations for meeting our shared priorities,” says Premier Caroline Cochrane.
For more information, please contact:
Glen Rutland, Deputy Clerk, House Procedure and Committees
NWT Legislative Assembly
P: 867-767-9130 ext. 12025