First Nations drummers in Whistler’s Canada Day parade

First Nations drummers in Whistler’s Canada Day parade (source: Flikr)

If the West or Alberta breaks from Ottawa, would its First Nations choose the old nation, or the new? First Nations harbor no great love for Ottawa, but several Western First Nations leaders have come out against independence. In November 2019, Treaty 8 issued a press release stating: “As chiefs, with our united voices and on behalf of our 22 member nations — with clear conscience — declare we are strongly opposed to the idea of separation from Canada.”

At the Value of Alberta Conference in Calgary, Danielle Smith posed the question: “If Alberta held a referendum on independence and the vote came back ‘yes,’ would the province look like Swiss cheese with various First Nations rejecting independence?” Grand Chief of Treaty 8, Jim Boucher, nodded and Grand Chief of Treaty 6, Billy Morin, stated that it would result in: “Wet’suwet’en, times 100.” In short, without First Nations buy in, Western independence is dead in the water.  

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