Indigenous peoples have never stropped pushing for policy change. Aboriginal and treaty rights were “recognized and affirmed” in the 1982 Canadian constitution, and subsequent legal victories converted the aspirations of First Nations, Inuit and Metis into meaningful political and economic authority. Indigenous politics changed. Non-Indigenous politics, not so much.
The country is still struggling to transition. Powerful Indigenous leaders – National Chief Perry Bellegarde, former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, environmental activist Stewart Philip, and development proponents like Sean Wiley, Stephen Buffalo and Crystal Smith – offer different visions for the future. These leaders talk of “closing the gap” economically and socially, creating Indigenous economic opportunity, and rebuilding Canadian political and legal institutions to include Aboriginal perspectives and aspirations.
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