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The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) (formerly the Native Council of Canada and briefly the Indigenous Peoples Assembly of Canada), founded in 1971, is a national Canadian aboriginal organization, that represents Aboriginal peoples (Non-Status, and Status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit) who live off Indian reserves, in either urban or rural areas across Canada. As of 2011, over 70% of Aboriginal people live off-reserve.
Its head office is located in Ottawa, Ontario. The congress works with its affiliate organizations on issues that affect the Aboriginal peoples of Canada who live off-reserve. Affiliates of the congress have their own constitutions, with some being separately funded through the Métis and Non-Status Indian Relations Directorate of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The Métis and Non-Status Indian Relations Directorate works primarily with Aboriginal political organizations who represent the interests of Métis and non-status Indians (MNSI) and other off-reserve Aboriginal organizations.
The congress administers the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) which links training to labour market demand. ASETS is designed to help Aboriginal people who live off-reserve prepare for and find high-demand jobs.
In 1983, the Métis split from the Native Council of Canada, a pan-Aboriginal coalition, to form the Métis National Council as a Métis-specific representative group. The founding affiliates of the Métis National Council were the Métis Association of Alberta, the Association of Métis and Non-Status Indians of Saskatchewan, the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Louis Riel Métis Association of British Columbia, the Robinson-Superior Métis Association and the Alberta Federation of the Métis Settlement Associations.
In 1993, the Native Council of Canada was reorganized and renamed the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
On January 8, 2013, a landmark ruling by the Federal Court of Canada affirmed the position of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples that Métis and Non-status are Indians under the Constitution. The Federal Court Action was launched in 1999 by Harry Daniels, Leah Gardner and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. This decision could have a significant impact on the relationship between the Government of Canada and the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada living off-reserve.
The organization briefly (for seven months during 2016) changed its name to the Indigenous Peoples Assembly of Canada. This was reversed in October 2016 when the national chief associated with the name change, Dwight Dorey, was defeated in a bid for reelection and replaced with Robert Bertrand.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Dwight Dorey was elected at the Annual General Assembly in 2015. National Chief Dorey is a Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia who previously served in the same position with CAP from 2000 to 2006.
List of National Chiefs:
Also known as provincial/territorial organizations (PTOs), the congress has affiliate Aboriginal organizations in Canada's respective provinces and territories, who choose the congress to represent them at a national level. Each organization holds its own constitution and by-laws, and some are individually funded through Government of Canada programs. In effect, these affiliates are the corporate members of the congress. Each affiliate organization also has a respective provincial chief and president, who make up the Board of Directors of the congress. The congress's Annual General Assembly, is attended by delegates from each provincial affiliate organizations to discuss policy, priorities and issues facing Aboriginal peoples who live off-reserve.
The following is a list of the organizations that associate with CAP, as of November 21, 2012: