Assembly of First Nations Calls for Immediate Discussions by All Jurisdictions in Effort to Address Concerns of First Nations in New Brunswick

OTTAWA, Oct. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Regional Chief Roger Augustine called for immediate discussions with representatives from all governments to resolve the issues surrounding the shale gas protests in New Brunswick.

"The federal government, provincial government and First Nation governments need to get together to discuss the very real issues and concerns regarding development in general and shale gas and hydraulic fracking specifically," said AFN National Chief Atleo.  "This is about governments respecting and recognizing First Nations rights and that we have a right, as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to free, prior and informed consent on any proposed development that could affect our lands, our waters or our people.  All parties must commit to a sustained process of engagement to set sustainable plans for responsible economic development that are acceptable to all.  This is the approach we want to see going forward in all parts of the country."

A protest against shale gas and hydraulic fracking has been underway near Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick for a number of weeks.  New Brunswick court has issued an injunction against the action though the protest continues.

AFN New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Regional Chief Roger Augustine stated: "As First Nations, our preferred approach is to always resolve issues through open, honest and respectful dialogue.  At the Crown-First Nation Gathering in 2012, the federal government committed to work First Nations on issues related to natural resources, resource revenue sharing and other initiatives in a way that achieves mutual benefits for all involved. On Monday, we will mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that recognized our rights to our lands.  Now is the time to begin resolving this long unfinished business so we can all move forward."

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

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

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca


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