SASKATOON – ANISHINABEK – Perry Bellegarde, currently Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) today announced his candidacy for the position of National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
“I am committed to being a catalyst for positive change for First Nations across Canada. I want to see Aboriginal rights and title and our Treaty rights recognized, honoured and implemented,” stated Perry Bellegarde.
First Nations leaders from across Canada agree that Bellegarde has the experience and the focused approach that will achieve concrete results as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
“Given the opportunities and challenges in front of us, as First Nations people, I can’t think of a better candidate for the position of National Chief of AFN than Perry Bellegarde. His commitment to Aboriginal rights and title, in particular, will be extremely valuable, especially in light of our recent Supreme Court ruling that recognizes Aboriginal title. We need Perry’s leadership at this time, as we implement the Tsilhqot’in decision,” stated Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation in British Columbia.
“I am supporting Perry Bellegarde to be the National Chief of AFN. His leadership experience, combined with his track record of achieving concrete results, will be of real benefit to First Nations across Canada”, said Chief Marianna Couchie of the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario.
“Perry Bellegarde understands the issues that face First Nations people right across the country. He has met with us, and most of all, he has listened to our issues and our proposed solutions. The Assembly of First Nations needs a National Chief like Perry Bellegarde who listens intently and acts decisively,” stated Chief Ken Barlow of the Indian Island First Nation in New Brunswick.
Perry Bellegarde’s lifetime commitment to inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights and service to First Nations peoples is highlighted by his service, on a regional basis, as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations for a total of seven years, a position he currently holds. Additionally, he has assumed federal responsibility as Saskatchewan Regional Chief with the Assembly of First Nations. Previously he held regional responsibilities as the Assistant Tribal Council Representative, and then the Representative for the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council for twelve years. He has also held local responsibilities as a Councillor and then Chief of Little Black Bear First Nation.
“The Assembly of First Nations is at a pivotal point in its history,” said Bellegarde. “AFN must be relevant, responsive and respectful because creating positive change for First Nations– in our homes, at our jobs and with our families—is essential. Our people need and deserve effective leadership that is based on extensive experience and an exceptional degree of focus. I am committed to delivering exactly that.”
Perry Bellegarde’s focus as AFN National Chief includes the following:
- Establishing processes for self-determination which include revenue sharing, ensuring environmental sustainability,
- Adherence to the duty to consult and accommodate and international standards such as free, prior and informed consent;
- Establishing a new fiscal relationship with the federal Crown;
- An immediate action plan and inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and
- Committed focus on the revitalization and retention of indigenous languages.
Perry Bellegarde concluded by saying, “I am asking First Nations leaders across Canada for the opportunity to use my leadership experience, combined with my relentless focus, to deliver concrete results.”