07/14/2015 09:02 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 05:59 EDT

Premiers meeting in Labrador to focus on aboriginal issues, Muskrat Falls

Premiers from almost every province and territory in Canada are converging in Labrador Tuesday, with an agenda that emphasizes aboriginal issues. 

Also on the agenda is a tour on Tuesday of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject, which is under construction outside Happy Valley-Goose Bay. 

The premiers are meeting with leaders from different aboriginal groups, including officials from the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Métis National Council and the Native Women's Association of Canada.

The sessions will give those leaders a chance to put Labrador issues front-and-centre on the national stage. 

They'll be working on issues like the report looking into residential schools, as some provinces are looking to act on the recommendations from the report. 

However, the apology and compensation for residential schools has never included students from Newfoundland and Labrador, who are now suing the government.

Missing and murdered aboriginal women is also expected to be a key topic, with all provinces agreeing an inquiry is necessary. 

Dawn Lavell Harvard, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, plans to lobby the premiers to act on the issue during Tuesday's meetings.

 "The most pressing concern we have right now in our communities is the ongoing level of violence," Lavell Harvard said from Ottawa.

"We want to see concrete action. Policing, access to justice, equity and discrimination issues — we need to push the provinces to do more."

Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council, thinks it will be constructive to get the provinces involved in dealing with aboriginal issues.

"It's an opportunity for aboriginal people to share their concerns, their needs and their aspirations with a group of people that have some influence and a responsibility to build a relationship with aboriginal peoples," he told CBC's Labrador Morning.

"We hear aboriginal people say that the federal government must step up to the plate but there's also a role for for provincial and territorial leaders — there's a responsibility there."

Muskrat Falls also on the agenda

The meetings in Labrador are also a chance to get other provinces interested in Newfoundland and Labrador's hydroelectricity. Ontario's Kathleen Wynn is expected to be one of the premiers touring the Muskrat Falls project on Tuesday.

Russell said having the meetings in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is significant because they will take place near the $8.6-billion project.

His group, representing about 6,000 Inuit-Métis in southern Labrador, has repeatedly said it wasn't properly consulted and is challenging the project in court.

The Nunatsiavut government has also raised alarms about how potential mercury contamination from flooding could affect Lake Melville, a food source for 2,000 Inuit.

The only premier not expected to attend is Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil, and Saskatchewan's Brad Wall may not make it either, as he deals with a wildfire crisis in his own province.