Wed, 18 May 2022

March 17, 2022 - Mistissini, Quebec - Department of Justice Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to walking the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and remains focused on renewing this relationship. This includes recognizing Indigenous peoples' right to self-determination, supporting the revitalization of Indigenous legal systems and traditions, as well as acknowledging the integral role that Indigenous communities and organizations play in the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Chief Thomas Neeposh, highlighted the Government of Canada's support to the Cree Nation of Mistissini for their Mistissini Governance Project, which will revitalize Cree legal principles and traditions within their community. Support for this initiative aligns with the Government of Canada's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Call to Action 50.

The Mistissini Governance Project will create a series of fundamental governance laws for the Cree Nation of Mistissini. This will include the creation of five laws: Mistissini Iinuuch Chisa-Wiisuuwehwun (a Mistissini Constitution), a Mistissini Governance Law, a Mistissini Hunting Law, a Mistissini Development Law and a Mistissini Lake Law. This project will support the intergration of Cree legal principles and values into a series of fundamental governance laws and be applied across the entire traditional territory.

The Cree Nation of Mistissini will work closely with elders, tallymen and other community members to gather information-stories, teachings, perspectives, practices-to inform the legal principles and processes related to the five laws to be developed. This important work will ensure the integration of Cree values, traditions and teachings in Mistissini Cree laws.

Call to Action 50 calls upon the federal government to collaborate with Indigenous organizations to fund Indigenous law institutes for the development, use and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in accordance with the unique cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Supporting Call to Action 50 aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which sets out the right of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their distinct legal institutions.

The Department of Justice is providing $499,000 over four years for this project through its Justice Partnership and Innovation Program. This program supports activities that respond effectively to the changing conditions affecting Canadian justice policy.

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