Legislative Assembly establishes new reconciliation and Indigenous affairs committee

"Lots of work to do in this area," says Rylund Johnson, who put forward the motion for the committee.

(File photo/CKLB).

“To seek and encourage discussions and recommendations on opportunities and challenges in relation to Aboriginal Rights negotiations and reconciliation.”

That is the broad purpose of a new special committee that MLAs established on Monday.

Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North and Caucus chair, put forward the motion to establish the committee.

“Throughout assemblies, special committees are established and they really do show the priorities of that group,” he said. “I believe this committee has lots of work to do in this area.”

The members of the new committee include: Lesa Semmler, Steve Norn, Rylund Johnson, R.J. Simpson, and Caroline Wawzonek. As minister of Executive and Indigenous Affairs, Premier Caroline Cochrane is also a non-voting member.

“The creation of this Special Committee brings us one step closer to achieving a healthier relationship between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Territories,” said Lesa Semmler in a news release.

The committee is also meant to give advice on “outstanding issues” on negotiations with Indigenous governments, such as land claims and self-government agreements.

Under the terms of reference, the committee must publish a final report on its findings on the first day of the last sitting of the 19th Legislative Assembly (in 2023), at the latest.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.