Assembly of First Nations National Chief Calls Crown-First Nation Gathering an Important First Step in Renewing Relationship Between First Nations and Canada

OTTAWA, Jan. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo commented today on the Crown-First Nation Gathering held January 24 in Ottawa, Ontario involving First Nation leaders, youth and Elders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Governor General, Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials.

"The Crown-First Nation Gathering is an important first step in renewing the relationship between First Nations and our historic partner, the Crown," National Chief Atleo said. "We have emerged with a shared understanding that building stronger First Nations and a stronger Canada requires us to reinvigorate the original relationship that was based on partnership, sharing and trust. We have a commitment to act on key priorities guided by recognition and implementation of First Nations rights.  The key now is for the government to act on our shared commitments so that we move forward together. I look forward to an early demonstration of that commitment from the Government of Canada."

An Outcome Statement issued following the Crown-First Nations Gathering commits to key principles and sets out immediate steps for action. This includes work to strengthen First Nation governance and move beyond the colonial control of the Indian Act; renewing the relationship and improving First Nations financial arrangements; implementing Treaties and Treaty rights; advancing resolution of First Nation land claims on the basis of recognition and affirmation of First Nation rights; implementing mutually agreed upon recommendations on First Nations education; and, a specific task force to advance recommendations to unlock First Nation economies. The Crown and First Nations also share an interest in maintaining open dialogue, monitoring progress and working together to report on outcomes.

"Convening this Gathering was a tremendous challenge and we recognize and appreciate the efforts and willingness of the Crown to join us in this way," National Chief Atleo said. "First Nations stepped up and demonstrated that we have the ideas and plans to drive change and smash the status quo. We must act now on this renewed understanding, addressing the urgent needs and creating lasting change for our peoples and for all of Canada."

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

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

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

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