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Economic Reconciliation Requires First Nations to be Equal Partners, Says AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak

Press Release

(May 28, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – Speaking at a closed-door roundtable meeting organized by the federal government in Ottawa yesterday, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief, Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak, identified three principles to guide economic reconciliation in Canada, including decolonizing the Canadian economy, refining the process for recognizing First Nations identity, and enhancing the Loan Guarantee Program to better match the scale of economic opportunities.

“Until there is a strong First Nations economy, there will not be a vibrant national economy,” said AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak. “To achieve our full potential together, we must start by decolonizing the Canadian economy, making substantive space for First Nations as equal partners, and ensuring there are adequate opportunities for First Nations to participate.”

“De-colonizing Canada’s economy means being vigilant against pretendians,” added National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “Our First Nations need to verify the applicants to these government programmes. Without a connection to the community, there is no benefit to the community.

In her remarks, the AFN National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak also applauded the federal and provincial governments for announcing loan guarantees measures as a necessary component for First Nations to participate in major projects on their lands. However, the scope of these measures falls short compared to the scale of projects anticipated over the next decade.

“These loan guarantee measures must fit the size of the opportunity,” concluded AFN National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “Anything less will limit the prosperity of First Nations. In the next decade, it is forecast that $560 billion dollars of projects, primarily in the resource sector, will be launched in Canada on the ancestral lands of First Nations. The benefit to Canada of these projects advancing is in the trillions of dollars and will be the cornerstone of the economy for generations to come.”

AFN is engaging a panel of experts to commission a report on the benefit to Canada of these projects. A full copy of the National Chief’s remarks is attached. AFN National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak will be speaking at an economic reconciliation conference Thursday, May 30, organized by Canada 2020 on Unceded Algonquin Territory in Ottawa, Ontario.

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The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.

Contact information:

Kelly Reid
Senior Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
(613) 292-0857 (mobile)
kreid@afn.ca

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