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Indigenous-led summit will focus "past the Indian Act"

Osgoode Hall law school dean helping to organize
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OTTAWA -- The head of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the dean of Osgoode Hall Law School are setting up a summit aimed at creating a plan for moving beyond the Indian Act.

Indigenous leaders will gather in Ottawa in May for a conference that will also involve Indigenous elders, women and youth as well as legal and scholarly experts and federal government representatives.

"Creating a new relationship with our federal Treaty partner is complex and is missing a clear path forward," said NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "The summit will seek to address this challenge by creating a framework for change from an Indigenous perspective."

In a prepared statement, Osgoode Hall Dean Lorne Sossin said "the systems we need to change are complex and our work needs to be informed by Indigenous legal traditions and customs if we want this new relationship to succeed."

Fiddler added that after more than 140 years the Indian Act has brought about "a legacy of poverty, marginalization and mistreatment of First Nations." He said undoing this "through decolonization" requires a fundamental reconsideration of Canada's legal framework.

The summit will take place May 23 and May 24, 2018.


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