AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine Announces He Will Not Seek Re-election



    OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine announced in Ottawa today that he will not seek re-election as
National Chief and will retire as National Chief at the end of his current
term.

    The National Chief stated:

    
    "Being the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations is the best
    job that I have ever had. I am very thankful for all of the support,
    direction and encouragement so generously given to me by First Nations
    leaders, Elders and all of our people during the course of my three terms
    in office.

    I am very proud of the many accomplishments that our people have achieved
    since I first took office as National Chief in 1997. Whether it was the
    Statement of Reconciliation, the Kelowna Accord, the Indian Residential
    Schools Settlement Agreement, the National Days of Action or the June 11,
    2008 Apology to Survivors of Indian Residential Schools, we have been
    able to achieve all of these victories by working together in common
    cause for the betterment of all First Nations and all Canadians.

    In this post-Apology era of reconciliation, with the support and
    assistance of all Canadians, we must reaffirm our commitment to making
    the correct decisions and taking corresponding actions to achieve a real
    and lasting reconciliation. We must increase our efforts to eliminate
    First Nations poverty and ensure fairness and justice for the First
    Peoples of this land. Reconciliation means there will be an end to First
    Nations poverty and the discriminatory funding policies and practices of
    the federal government towards First Nations governments, communities and
    citizens.

    Achieving true reconciliation in Canada also means that the federal
    government will make good on the promise made in the Apology to First
    Nations last June that it will no longer pursue policies of assimilation
    by unilaterally imposing its will on our people. First Nations must be
    able to implement the true spirit and intent of our Treaties with the
    Crown, give life to our Aboriginal rights and title and replace the
    Indian Act regime with true self-government.

    As National Chief, I have made every effort to bring people together, to
    open lines of communication, and to create meaningful dialogue and
    engagement. I negotiated win-win solutions to complex issues and, when it
    was necessary, stood with our allies and fought for what was right. All
    along the way, Canadians from all walks of life and of every political
    stripe have stood with us shoulder to shoulder in our efforts to achieve
    justice and reconciliation. I want to thank each and every Canadian for
    that support and I ask you to continue to support the efforts of First
    Nations. Only with your ongoing support will we be able to realize our
    goal of ending poverty for First Nations and creating a more
    compassionate, tolerant and just society in Canada for First Nations and
    all Canadians.

    Today is not the time to say goodbye. I will serve my term as National
    Chief until the election begins on July 22nd at our Annual General
    Assembly in Calgary, Alberta. During that time - and beyond it as well -
    I will continue to advocate and work with First Nations and all Canadians
    to bring about reconciliation and respect for our peoples. This has been
    my life's work and I will continue to serve my people."

    National Chief Phil Fontaine
    Assembly of First Nations
    

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Don Kelly, A/Communications Director, Assembly
of First Nations, (613) 241-6789 ext. 334, cell: (613) 292-2787,
dkelly@afn.ca


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