An image supplied by the Dene Nation shows a meeting involving its representatives and a UN special rapporteur.
Dene Nation representatives have met with a United Nations special rapporteur to discuss the impact of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Dene Nation said the meeting with UN Special Rapporteur Francisco Calí Tzay took place last weekend in Enoch Cree Nation, Treaty 6, a First Nation west of Edmonton.
The UN special rapporteur and his delegation wrapped up a 10-day tour of Canada on Friday.
Calí Tzay’s mandate includes assessing the protection of Indigenous peoples’ human rights across the globe and examining allegations of rights violations.
The Dene Nation said the “historic meeting” had involved Dene leaders telling Calí Tzay “how Undrip impacts Inherent and Treaty rights, and the fact that Canada does not have dominion over the Dene.”
“The Dene are sovereign people,” stated Dene National Chief Gerald Antoine, referring in part to federal legislation enacted in 2021 that is designed to “ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
“The Canadian state does not have the right to define Dene sovereignty, internationally recognized and affirmed rights, title, and jurisdiction within Canadian law,” Chief Antoine wrote.
“We did not agree to put ourselves in Canada’s section 35 box and become ‘subjects of the Crown.’
“The Dene are a nation of Peoples who entered into Treaty 8 and 11 with the British Crown. Canada’s legislation is attempting to domesticate the Dene and take over their territories.”