International Indigenous Energy and Mining Summit will chart new course for relationships, partnerships with industry and government

OTTAWA, June 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Next week, Indigenous peoples and government representatives from around the world will gather for a major summit on resource development in the spirit of a shared commitment to produce and provide long-term sustainable energy for future generations.

"Consistent with First Nations rights and our responsibilities as stewards of the land, we will begin to chart a new Indigenous economic relationship where First Nations can and will take the lead to build our own economies and contribute to Canada's economy in ways that respect the environment and provide a sustainable future for all Canadians," said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, who will co-chair the Summit with Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). "We look forward to continuing our work with President Keel and the Tribal Chiefs of NCAI on energy and the environment, justice and border issues and I look forward to new discussions among the global Indigenous community on how our work together can transcend borders."

The International Indigenous Energy and Mining Summit taking place in Niagara Falls June 27-29 will bring together key representatives from the global Indigenous community and governments.  Representatives from the United States, China, Brazil, Germany and the private and public sectors will come together to discuss best practices, partnership opportunities, and ultimately establish a Virtual Institute of First Nation Energy and Mining. Indigenous delegates and representatives from Brazil to Nunavut will re-affirm their rights to participate in natural resource development.

"In Canada alone, it is estimated that there will $400 billion worth of mineral resource development projects in the coming years that affect First Nations territories.  It will be critical to these projects, and to the Canadian economy, that First Nation people and concerns be addressed," said National Chief Atleo. "There is also the potential for our Peoples to be the long term providers of energy and environmental security - ensuring that North Americans can rely upon domestic energy production that has little or no impact upon our air and water qualities."

Guest speakers include: Anthony Hodge, President of the International Council on Mining and Metals; Ernesto Sirolli, advocate for Indigenous sustainable communities; Nunavut Deputy Premier Peter Taptuna; Ian Anderson, CEO of Kinder Morgan Pipelines; and 80 other speakers from around the world.

"Our peoples can be full partners in development from pipelines to power lines, from potash to precious metals," added National Chief Atleo. "With partnership comes full participation from revenue sharing to ownership, from employment to environmental stewardship. We must engage early and engage often on these projects, and this Summit is an example of this principle in action."

For more information on the International Indigenous Energy and Mining Summit please visit www.afn.ca.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  AFN and National Chief Atleo are on Twitter.  Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly AFN A/Communications Director 613-241-6789 ext. 334; 613-2922787 or dkelly@afn.ca

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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