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Canada’s minister of Indigenous relations says the federal government needs to “get out of the way” of First Nations in their efforts to bring about self-determination.

Carolyn Bennett has told the annual assembly of First Nations chiefs that Canada also needs a mechanism to protect First Nations rights and title by moving away from a colonial approach that leads to court battles.

She says her government is working toward a framework that would be a code of conduct to ensure it follows the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the demands of generations of Aboriginal leaders.

Bennett was speaking to chiefs across the country who elected Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde to a second term yesterday.

Bellegarde and his four challengers said in speeches before the election that the status quo based on colonial views cannot continue.

Bennett acknowledged the leaders concerns in her own speech, saying treaty rights that have belonged to First Nations since time immemorial must be recognized.

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