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Access to affordable food a ‘desperate situation’

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) was happy to hear the UN Food Envoy’s preliminary comments on its trip around Canada. The AMC worked diligently to ensure UN Special Rapporteur, Dr. Olivier De Schutter, and his staff, had the opportunity to see the remote communities as well as the effects of last year’s flood on the agricultural and fishing economies of our people in Manitoba.

“The Rapporteur was able to see what could be described as a desperate situation in our Northern communities with respect to access to food, access to affordable food.

“Dr. De Schutter’s call for a reform of the Nutrition North Canada program is welcomed and I would hope the Federal and Provincial governments will implement recommendations for the benefit of our people,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.

Dr. De Schutter also made a recommendation for a continued and concerted measure, to develop new initiatives and reform existing ones, in consultation and in real partnership with Indigenous peoples.

With the goal of strengthening Indigenous peoples’ own self determination and decision making over their affairs at all levels and reminds Canada of its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, calling it a positive step.

AMC agrees with the UN Rapporteur’s initial observations and calls on Canada to start working with First Nations leaders in Manitoba and across Canada to lift First Nations people out of third world conditions.

“We trust from the visit, Dr. De Schutter and ultimately the United Nations, now better understands that Indigenous peoples of Manitoba and Canada have had their own systems of food gener at i on, relying on traditional k n o w l - edge for harvesting, planting and consumption techniques , but over the last 100 years, federal Indian policy and provincial interference disrupted and in some cases, devastating the tradition practices of First Nations in this country.” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. “It has undoubtedly destroyed the control First Nations once held over their land and traditional agriculture, altering the diets of the Indigenous people of this country,” Nepinak added.

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