• Public Inquiry Commission on Relations between Indigenous Peoples
Jun 05, 2017

Wendake, June 6, 2017 – While participating in the second day of the working proceedings of the Public Inquiry Commission between Indigenous Peoples and some Public Services in Quebec, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) commends Commissioner Viens’ efforts in a first round of hearings which will help assess the extent of a situation which many have sought to deny for too long. The AFNQL hopes that this first step will encourage those who are reluctant, to testify and reveal the unacceptable situations they have experienced. By agreeing to testify, these persons will help the Commission making recommendations as to concrete, effective and sustainable actions to be put in place by the Government of Quebec.

The mandate of Commission Viens, which several observers have in the past considered as too broad, will on the contrary shed some light on occurrences of discrimination and racism towards the members of our communities. This is the hope expressed by Chief Ghislain Picard, who is testifying today before the Commission: "I am asking each and every one who has a story to share, to make the step and take the opportunity offered by the Commission. It is time for all those who are in situation of this kind to break the silence. We are already aware that this phenomenon exists, and that it represents a reality all too often widespread for many of our members, as stated by Chief Picard, and that the non-aboriginal population is also implicated and it must not hesitate to speak up."

Even if the AFNQL takes the view that the members of First Nations must have confidence in this opportunity offered by the Commissions’ working proceedings, it warns that it will never lose sight of the events that have led to this necessity of holding a Commission. "It will be important throughout this exercise to remember the courage of our sisters who dared come forward, who have had their integrity tarnished, and who still believe justice has not been done, insisted the Chief of the AFNQL, and that it is through the determination of the First Nations Women that the Government of Quebec finally agreed to create the Commission."

About the AFNQL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is a political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and in Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.

- 30 -


Mélanie Vincent : vincentmelaniemv@gmail.com

Cell. : 418-580-4442