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Canada First Nations chief won’t join UK royals for ’empty gesture’ ceremony

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip denounces symbolic British Columbia event with William and Kate, calling it a public charade amid indigenous struggles

One of British Columbias most influential First Nations chiefs has turned down an invitation to participate in a reconciliation rite with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to Canada, describing the symbolic rite as a public charade the working paper over the Canadian governments failure to keep its promises to indigenous peoples.

The Black Rod ceremony is slated to take place on Monday evening, in a private sitting room at the stately Government House in Victoria. Officials have expended more than a year carefully crafting every moment of the opening ceremony, which will see Prince William add a carved silver ring to the Black Rod, a ceremonial faculty created in 2012 to commemorate the Queens diamond jubilee.

The staff is currently adorned with three hoops, representing the province, Canada and the link to the UK. Prince William is expected to add a fourth resound engraved with eagle feathers and a canoe that they are able to symbolise First Nations in the province.

Reconciliation has to be more than empty symbolic gestures, articulated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs in clarifying his decision to diminish the royal summon.

He had been asked to hand the ring to Prince William and invite the royal to affix the ring on the Black Rod. Last-place week he and the an officer of the 115 First Nations represented by his organisation decided it has not been able to be appropriate to attend or participate in the event. The Chiefs-in-Assembly simply didnt feel that it was appropriate to is incorporated into that public illusion that everything is okay.

When the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, swept into government nearly a year ago, there was a sense of great hope within the indigenous community, Phillip articulated. Amid vanquishing high levels of indigenous poverty, sky-high suicide rates and thousands of missing and murdered indigenous wives , Trudeau had campaigned on a refreshed relationship with Canadas indigenous peoples. He swore to repeal legislation that failed to respect aboriginal communities and convention rights, committed to concluding the wide crack in the area of education funded for indigenous Canadians and pledged to address the lack of clean water and dilapidated, overcrowded housing that besets many First Nations across Canada, among other promises.

Yet that hasnt happened, articulated Phillip. Instead, the Liberal government has repeatedly discounted a governing by the Canadian human rights tribunal that found the government was racially discriminating against aboriginal youth by underfunding the welfare system. Its first fund billed by the government as establishing historic investing in indigenous communities will not deliver the bulk of the funding until after 2019. Were sick and tired of the lofty, eloquent rhetoric on the part of Prime Minister Trudeau, articulated Phillip.

A similar situation has played out at the provincial level. The British Columbia government has proven to be absolutely adversarial to the rights and interests of First Nation people in different provinces, articulated Phillip, pointing to the provinces make further efforts to fast-track the Site C hydroelectric dam, a C$ 9bn( US$ 7bn) programme that will see an field approximately equivalent to about 5,000 rugby domains flooded in north-east British Columbia. A campaign launched globally by Amnesty International last-place month bawls on the federal and British Columbian governments to withdraw all permits and approvings for Site C, over anxieties that the mega-project tramples on the rights of indigenous peoples in northeast British Columbia.

Philip said the hypocrisy of taking part in a reconciliation rite was laid bare last week as the organisations chiefs gathered for their annual general meet. There were tears and gut-wrenching first-hand reports of the tragedies in local communities. At same day were asked to participate in a reconciliation rite that for all intents and purposes would suggest there is a extremely harmonious and robust relationship between the First Nation people and the provinces and federal governments, he articulated. And thats an misconception. We decided that for us it wasnt appropriate to participate in such a public charade.

He wasnt sure if other aboriginal leaders would participate in the event and stressed that the decision was not “ve been meaning to” disrespect anyone. I apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused with our decision.

The duke and duchess, together with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, arrived in Canada on Saturday. The household will trip British Columbia and the Yukon in a visit dotted with stops at First Nations communities and traditional ceremonies. The visit, articulated Kensington Palace, will help celebrate Canadas First Nations community, its art and culture.

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