POLITICS

Saskatchewan native leaders insulted by MP's bill to change Indian Act

06/28/2012 12:28 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT
NIPAWIN, Sask. - Chiefs at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations assembly say they are insulted by a MP's proposal to change the Indian Act.

Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River Member of Parliament Rob Clarke outlined his private member's bill to change the Indian Act to those at the assembly in Nipawin, Sask., on Tuesday.

He told the leaders he wouldn't take questions, but he welcomed their feedback and ideas on how to shape the bill.

FSIN vice-chief Morley Watson says chiefs were not consulted when the bill was drafted, nor do they Clarke's attendance as a form of consultation.

Watson adds the chiefs have "grave concerns" with Clarke's plan, likening it to the 1969 White Paper which proposed the abolition of the Indian Act, the rejection of land claims, and the assimilation of First Nations people into the Canadian population with the status of other ethnic minorities rather than a distinct group.

Watson says the Conservative government is behind this bill and has sent a First Nations MP to front their agenda.

(MBC)