November 2, 2015, Traditional territory of Treaty No.7…Cold Lake First Nation’s (CLFN) Chief Bernice Martial and leadership attended the Treaties 1-11 Post Election Strategy meeting at the Grey Eagle Hotel at Tsuut’ina Nation. Over 100 Chiefs attended the gathering, which included a presentation from National Chief, Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations. Chief Martial stated, “We need to repeal all legislation that affects Indigenous Peoples in our country. We also need to set up a meeting with the Prime Minister, as Chiefs in this country.” Cold Lake First Nations does not believe that the federal government, through the unilateral imposition of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, has the right to compel Cold Lake First Nations, or any other First Nation in Canada, to disclose its private financial information. The Nation has no issue with disclosing all financial information related to the small amount of financial transfer payments received from the federal government each year.
Cold Lake First Nation calls on the new federal government to comply with the recent federal court decision on this matter, to not appeal the issue any further, and to begin to work with First Nations across Canada to implement a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, as was promised during the recent federal election campaign by the Liberal Party of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We need the new federal government to immediately call a full public inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). As Chief, I called on the former Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, to prove his public statements on this matter. He did not comply, and he later attempted to deflect the matter using the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”). We, as Treaty First Nations, have a special Treaty relationship with the RCMP to protect us and the former Minister Valcourt should never have politicized the issue in that way. Rather than blame us for the racism and poverty that affects our people like the previous Conservative government did, we call on the new federal government to take action and work with us to resolve the issue in a positive way,” said Chief Martial.
“Cold Lake First Nations calls upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call a formal meeting early in 2016 in Ottawa with all First Nations in Canada to begin the Nation-to-Nation dialogue with us on creating a new relationship that is based on mutual respect, trust and dignity,” concluded Chief Martial.
Cold Lake First Nations is a Denesuline (Chipewyan) Tribe and part of the Dene Nation. The Nation is located 300 kilometers northeast of Edmonton, Alberta in Treaty No.6 territory. The dynamic First Nation has a total membership of over 2400 members. Approximately 1500 Band Members live in or near its four distinct neighbouring communities all of which are located in the scenic Cold Lake area.
Nicole Robertson, Communications Advisor