AFN – “We need to harness the energy from Idle No More and do the hard work…”

AFN National Chief addressing press conference in Ottawa
AFN National Chief addressing press conference in Ottawa

AFN National Chief addressing press conference in Ottawa
AFN National Chief addressing press conference in Ottawa

THUNDER BAY – Idle No More has already put solid change forward at the Assembly of First Nations. National Chief Shawn Atleo stood very firmly in Ottawa this afternoon expressing that it is time for action. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo stated, “For generations, we have expressed the same message to successive governments”.

Speaking on Ottawa, on the upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister, the National Chief says, “We have never wavered”.  Reading from a prepared text, in a fleece jacket the National Chief said “It is time to move past the broken promises, and act”. “All our efforts stand on the shoulders of Supreme Court decision after another… our people are standing up from coast to coast to coast.

Answering questions from reporters, Atleo stated to David Akin that the real issue is far larger than the finger-pointing and blame game that has been going on far too long. the National Chief stepped over questions from the reporter on the issue of a reporter being asked to leave Attawapiskat.

Atleo explained that the deep mistrust that has developed is a part of the problem.

We need real remedies, now!” asserted Atleo.

“We need to work out a framework for a resource revenue sharing agreement,” stated British Columbia Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. “We need to harness the energy from Idle No More and do the hard work – fundamental change”.

National Chief Atleo and the AFN national executive have been coordinating planning efforts since last Friday’s agreement by Prime Minister Harper to meet with a delegation of First Nation leaders January 11.  This work includes developing clear expectations and benchmarks for outcomes of the meeting reflective of First Nation priorities and expectations for change.  Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, together with members of the AFN national executive committee, Saskatchewan Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde and British Columbia Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, spoke at a media conference in the nation’s capital today.

Regional Chiefs Bellegarde and Wilson-Raybould are leading the national work in areas (Treaties and Lands and Economy) that will be the focus of Friday’s working meeting.

“We will drive and dictate the process,” stated Saskatchewan Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde.

The move comes as the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak stated, “By tabling this unified position, we are telling the Harper Government that they need to come to the table with the political will and a new approach to fulfilling the spirit and intent of the treaties or agreements that were signed with our ancestors”.

“We are putting Canada on notice that it can no longer develop legislation that impacts our Treaty and Aboriginal rights that allows for the destruction of Mother Earth. We have a duty as First Nation leaders and indigenous peoples of Canada to protect our sacred Treaties and continue to act a Keepers of the Land and protect the ecological integrity of the lands and waters, now and for future generations.”.