Native public opinion was almost unanimous in its condemnation of the government's 1969 White Paper. One result of this opposition was a movement among Native groups to organize a more united front on issues of common concern. The federal government responded to these protests by affirming that Native rights continued to be a government responsibility under the provisions of the British North America Act and the Proclamation of 1763. A statement issued by the Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders in 1980 expressed the commonly shared Native viewpoint on land claims issues. The Declaration of the First Nations stated that "the Creator has given us the right to govern ourselves and the right to self-determination. The rights and responsibilities given to us by the Creator cannot be altered or taken away by any other Nation."

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