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Canada’s premiers start summer meeting with First Nations gathering in Victoria

First Nations says gathering of premiers and Indigenous leaders on reserve land creates a precedent
B.C. Premier John Horgan makes an announcement at a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Canada’s premiers are starting their summer meetings at a Victoria-area First Nation where urging the federal government to increase health care funding to the provinces is expected to be a major topic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canada’s premiers are starting their summer gathering at a Victoria-area First Nation where they’ll meet with leaders of the National Indigenous Organizations, a collection of five national Indigenous groups.

The Council of the Federation, representing premiers from Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, are meeting in Victoria today and Tuesday.

The Songhees Nation says in a statement that Monday’s gathering of premiers and Indigenous leaders at the Songhees Wellness Centre creates a precedent by holding such an event on its reserve lands.

The National Indigenous Organizations is made up of leaders from the Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council and Native Women’s Association of Canada.

The opening meeting is being co-hosted by British Columbia Premier John Horgan along with Songhees Chief Rob Sam and Chief Rob Thomas of the neighbouring Esquimalt Nation.

The meeting comes just over a week before the Pope is scheduled to visit Canada to offer what is expected to be an in-person apology for abuse suffered by Indigenous Peoples at the hands of the Catholic Church.

—The Canadian Press

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