AFN National Chief encourages all to learn about First Nations and be part of positive change

OTTAWA, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today reminds all Canadians of the unique and diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and the need to celebrate and understand the priorities and important contributions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit on National Aboriginal Day and every day.

"June 21 has always been an important time for Indigenous peoples in Canada. The summer solstice is a time of gathering and of celebration," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "Today, and throughout the month of June, we see special events and gatherings from coast to coast to coast celebrating First Nation, Metis and Inuit cultures, traditions and languages.  I applaud the efforts of the many First Nations leaders hosting events today and encourage everyone to get involved. These events, and our work day to day, is about much more than celebration. It's about preserving and protecting our languages and traditions and educating all Canadians about our shared history of the many contributions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit and our priorities as we move forward."

First Nations across Canada continue to advance plans based on their rights, responsibilities and Treaties - to be healthy and educated and active participants, driving local economies and key players in the overall Canadian economy.

"We have a long way to go to achieve fairness and equity for First Nations in this country, but I do feel that change is essential and it is possible - change where First Nation rights and Treaties are respected, recognized and implemented in ways that First Nations can drive the solutions to the challenges they face, make the decisions that impact their territories and fulfill their true potential," said National Chief Atleo.

AFN encourages all Canadians to learn more about the diverse Indigenous cultures of Canada (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) by taking part in cultural events this June.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca  OR Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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