OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today offered his condolences to the family, community and Yukon First Nations on the passing of AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith, Shakuni, who served as AFN representative for the Yukon region since 2012.
“It is with a heavy heart that we learn of the loss of Shakuni – AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is a loss to the AFN, the Yukon territory and First Nations across the country. Regional Chief Smith was a dedicated and diligent member of the AFN Executive Committee who ensured the priorities of Yukon First Nations were represented at the national level. Regional Chief Smith was a sharp legal mind and a strong advocate for First Nations rights and First Nations jurisdiction. I will miss his contributions, insight, and leadership. My heart goes out to his family and community. We have lost a man who always fought for the goals and interests of his people.”
Shakuni, Mike Smith, was instrumental in spearheading the land claim of Yukon First Nations people and was a signatory as Chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement. He was a Chair of the Council of Yukon Indians, now the Council of Yukon First Nations. He served two terms as AFN Yukon Regional Chief, where he was a strong advocate for modern Treaties and self-determination, northern strategies and issues, and First Nations citizenship.