Treaty chiefs in Alberta reject United Conservatives’ proposed sovereignty act

Act is a ‘ploy’ to undermine treaty rights, they say.

All of the treaty chiefs in Alberta are coming together to oppose Premier Danielle Smith’s proposed sovereignty act.

The chiefs of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 – all of the province’s treaties – held a news conference in Edmonton Friday to challenge the proposed law and declare “it’s offensive and they reject it outright.”

“Smith’s proposed Bill undermines the authority and duty of the Sovereign Nations that entered into treaty,” said Treaty 8 First Nations Grand Chief Arthur Noskey in a statement after the news conference.

“How can the province make a sovereignty bill when our treaties were made before the creation of Alberta?”

Few details have been released, but Smith has said the bill would allow Alberta to opt out of federal measures deemed harmful to provincial interests and would be among the first to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

The chiefs say their treaties were made with the Crown – not Alberta – and the provincial government has no say over their lands and territories.

“Our treaties with the Crown are peace and friendship treaties that did not release any of our lands and territories,” said Chief Darcy Dixon of Bearspaw Nation in the statement.

“Danielle Smith’s ploy to implement her Free Alberta Strategy undermines our rights already protected in their Constitution Act.”

In a united statement the chiefs said, “If Danielle Smith and her UCP government want to erect invisible firewalls around Alberta, they can attempt to do so, but our territories will stay intact because we are not giving our free prior and informed consent.

“Further,” the chiefs added, “if industry and government want to do business in our territories, they should come directly to the Chiefs of the Treaty Nations who have jurisdiction and authority over our lands and resources.”

The chiefs called the bill a “ploy” to undermine treaty rights that are protected under Sec. 35 of the Constitution.

The next session of the Alberta Legislature is scheduled to begin Nov. 29.

Danielle Smith’s claim of Indigenous ancestry

The chiefs were also united in calling out Smith’s claim of Cherokee ancestry.

On Nov. 15, APTN News reported that while the premier has claimed to be Indigenous there are no records to back up her claim.

Smith didn’t respond to numerous requests from APTN to defend her claim or provide records.

She sent a statement to Post Media and said she hadn’t officially investigated her past.

The chiefs laughed when asked about it.

Alexis, though, wasn’t laughing.

“A true Indigenous person would not go against all the treaty people of this land,” he said.

With files from the Canadian Press

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