The Minister of Aboriginal Relations, Robin Campbell receives a gift from Grand Chief Richard Kappo.

Minister of aboriginal relations meets with elders | December 5, 2013

On a particularly icy Thursday morning in December, the Treaty 8 Elders Advisory Council met with the Minister of Aboriginal Relations, Robin Campbell.  Initially, the general mood of the meeting matched the weather outside but appeared to warm up when the Elders heard what Minister Campbell had to say.

"I have said this before but in the richest province, in one of the richest countries in the world, we have people living in third world conditions," stated Minister Campbell, before continuing, "We have to change that."

The Minister made a lot of good comments and even made some promises to the Elders, committing to funding a 2 day session on hunting and trapping.  The Elders seemed generally optimistic about the meeting but comments from them were that they would hold him to his word.

One of these comments came from Elder Joe “Muskwa” Whitehead Sr. in stating to the Minister, “It is good to hear the Minister talk like this and I trust his word that we will see results as to what he has said.  We speakers are here for our young ones and I am content with what I heard.  I’ll take home what I hear and take that to our Elders [translated from Cree].”

We caught up with Grand Chief Kappo after the meeting to ask him what he thought of what the Minister’s discussion.  He said “I think it’s fantastic.  Here is a Minister that wants to work with us.  You see, a lot of times we can be our own worst enemy.  We want to go back and fight about what happened 40 years ago.  We need to progress and he is opening that door.  The only way we can move forward is to be united.”

The Minister brought a very personal approach to the group, spending the entire morning talking with the Elders and Chiefs that were assembled.  He seems to want to extend this personal approach into other ministries as well.   “At the end of the day, I want any First Nation to be able to pick up the phone and call a Minister,” stated Minister Campbell.

The general feeling from the crowd seemed to be a positive one, but you can be sure that all of the assembled Elders and Chiefs from across Treaty 8 heard everything that the Minister said, and will make sure that he follows through.