OTTAWA, Canada (September 8, 2023) — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland visited Ottawa, Canada, this week to highlight the United States’ ongoing work with Canadian leadership to ensure that Indigenous and First Nations communities have the support and resources they need to prosper.
Secretary Haaland represented the United States during the fifth convening of the Trilateral Working Group (TWG) on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, which was started by leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico to address the high rates of violence against women and girls from Indigenous communities as a regional concern. Secretary Haaland’s remarks highlighted the importance of international collaboration to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples and human trafficking. The Interior Department is working with Tribal governments, law enforcement agencies, survivors, families of the missing, and all communities impacted to coordinate interagency and international collaboration to address this crisis.
“No country is more important for the Department of the Interior’s international work than Canada. The relationship we share is extensive and defined by our deep economic ties and shared cultural heritage,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Our work on behalf of Indigenous communities is expansive, but our enduring success depends on our international partnerships. The Biden-Harris administration, in collaboration with our colleagues in Canada and Mexico, is putting the full weight of the federal government into pursuing justice for missing or murdered Indigenous peoples so that that current and future generations of Native communities can enjoy a future free from the violence that has plagued our countries for too long.”
Hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen, the delegation met with Canadian government officials to discuss issues of shared importance and highlight continued collaboration to invest in United States and Canadian communities. This included meetings with Minister Gary Anandasangaree, Crown-Indigenous Relations; Minister Patty Hajdu, Indigenous Services; and Minister Dan Vandal, Northern Affairs. The delegation also met with Mary Simon, Governor General; Chris Forbes, Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada; and Michael Vandergrift, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada.
Ambassador Cohen, Secretary Haaland and the delegation hosted a roundtable discussion with Indigenous leaders and stakeholders regarding economic development issues in Indigenous communities. During the discussion, Secretary Haaland highlighted how funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is making historic investments in Indigenous communities in the United States, including for Indigenous economic empowerment, sovereignty, and Tribal climate resiliency.