TORONTO — The Ontario government has signed a political accord with the Chiefs of Ontario that Premier Kathleen Wynne says will guide relations between First Nations and the province.
The accord signed by Wynne and Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day in a ceremony at the legislature creates a formal bilateral relationship between the government and First Nations.
It affirms that First Nations have an inherent right to self-government and that the relationship with Ontario is based upon respect for that right.
It also commits the signatories to work together on a range of issues, including resource benefits sharing and jurisdictional matters.
Chief Day calls the accord "the most important collective milestone in modern times," and says it will help advance First Nations jurisdiction and Treaty rights on their terms.
Wynne says the accord is an important step in revitalizing First Nations communities that will make a real difference in the lives of people across the province.
One of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to add the history of Treaties, residential schools and First Nations history to Ontario's education curriculum, which will be done, said Wynne.
"Ontario will build on the work that we have done to distribute Treaty maps to every public school in Ontario by adopting this recommendation on curriculum," she said. "Everybody needs to understand the Treaty promises our ancestors made that have since been broken, as well as our rights and responsibilities as Treaty peoples today."
The premier said she would also apologize for the "horrors" of the residential schools and the "'60's scoop" of children from First Nations communities.
"We want to work with First Nations partners to make this apology formal, a full apology for these wrongs that I can deliver this fall on behalf of the government and all Ontarians."
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