First Ever National Assembly of Remote Communities: A Success
Last week, leadership from remote First Nations communities concluded the first ever National Assembly of Remote Communities (“NARC”) Symposium. Delegates from remote First Nations across Canada, including Knowledge keepers, Elders, youth, and representatives from child welfare agencies gathered in Saskatoon from May 31 to June 2, 2022, for a three-day Symposium – the first of its kind in Canadian history.
Attendees shared their own journeys and common experiences, including challenges faced by remote First Nations communities. They also held discussions on setting safeguards for settlement payouts regarding compensation. Presentations were made by leading experts on remoteness, demonstrating how this variable can be measured and accounted for through statistical modelling and indexing.
The evening of day two, co-chairs Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (“NAN”) Bobby Narcisse and Vice-Chief David Pratt of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (“FSIN”) welcomed Symposium participants to attend at a gala dinner featuring traditional dancers.
The final day of the Symposium included a landmark signing ceremony. Grand Chief Scott Harper of the Island Lake Anishininew Okimawin signed the NARC Mission Statement (photo above) to formally join as a member. As part of this signing ceremony, co-chairs Pratt and Narcisse signed the NARC Constitution and By-Laws.
Partner at Falconers LLP Julian Falconer, and associate Christopher Rapson, were honoured to be part of the proceedings at the Symposium and to be able to learn and interact with such a diverse group of remote First Nations communities. On day three of the Symposium, Julian Falconer also presented on the creation of the ‘Remoteness Quotient’, which is a First Nations-sighted, evidence-based statistical model to account for the increased costs of delivering social services in remote communities.
The creation of NARC stemmed from the Global Resolution Discussions that began in the Fall of 2021 in relation to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) proceedings for the Caring Society case. The NARC’s work will be informed by the work of the NAN-Canada Remote Quotient (RQ) Table and supported by a dedicated secretariat established by Canada with primary responsibility for addressing remoteness issues.
https://falconers.ca/remote-first-nation-communities-convene-first-assembly/ – May 31, 2022
Media Coverage of Symposium:
“National Assembly of Remote Communities holds inaugural meeting” – City News Toronto – June 1, 2022
“Saskatoon symposium seeks solutions to challenges faced in remote communities” – CTV News by Pat McKay– May 31, 2022
“First Nations leaders launch advocacy organization for children in remote communities” – APTN News by Leanne Sanders – May 31, 2022
“First-ever National Assembly of Remote Communities kicks off in Saskatoon” – MBC Radio by Joel Willick – May 31, 2022