OTTAWA — Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald says advancing "economic reconciliation" must go hand in hand with helping communities heal from intergenerational trauma.
She says the federal government needs to strike a balance between the two issues — and sees both the governing Liberals and Opposition Conservatives as missing a piece in their respective approaches toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Speaking after the release of Tuesday's federal budget, the national chief says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to create more economic opportunities for First Nations and that a new "economic deal" with Ottawa is needed.
But she also says the federal Conservatives "might be missing" the need for the federal government to help communities heal from the legacy of residential schools, which comes to the surface every time a First Nation announces the discovery of possible unmarked graves.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has framed a lot of his reconciliation agenda around economic matters, promising that if he wins power to allow First Nations more ways to access revenues from natural resource projects developed on their land.
The Liberals have committed to exploring the same, pledging almost $9 million in the new budget to consult with Indigenous leaders on what a framework for that might look like.
Dakota Kochie, a former chief of staff to past assembly chief Perry Bellegarde, says it appears in the budget the Liberals are "at least taking the first step to figure out what does a national economic reconciliation strategy looks like."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press