Assembly of First Nations Celebrates National Aboriginal Day by Calling on All Canadians to Stand Together in Support of First Nations Children and Youth



    OTTAWA, June 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine celebrates National Aboriginal Day by releasing two public
service announcements to raise awareness of Canadians on the need to support
First Nations children and youth.
    "Many Canadians are still unaware of the conditions of poverty, violence
and suicide faced by too many of our people," said National Chief Fontaine.
"More than half of our population is under 23 years old. They represent the
future of Canada and it is in all our interests to invest in that future.
Providing support to our First Nations children and youth through better
education and health care will encourage them to realize their full potential,
and, in turn, the full potential of First Nations people and communities.
Strong First Nations make for a stronger Canada."
    In honor of National Aboriginal Day, the AFN has released public service
announcements on YOUtube and the AFN website. The television-ready PSA
profiles First Nations youth speaking directly to the conditions of poverty
they face in their communities. The radio PSAs communicate key information
about the upcoming National Day of Action on June 29th and activities in
Ottawa and across the country. The AFN is promoting peaceful rallies across
Canada, and hosting a March of Solidarity giving unique voice to First Nations
children, youth and Elders in Ottawa.
    "We have faced decades of inaction on the part of the Government of
Canada," said National Chief Fontaine. "From the shelved report of the 1996
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, to the 2005 Kelowna Accord struck at
the First Ministers Meeting that has been set-aside by the Conservative
Government, our people are becoming increasingly frustrated. We hope all
Canadians will join us in a call for action and justice to improve the lives
of First Nations people everywhere."
    The National Chief noted that his announcement with the Prime Minister on
June 12 to create a new, fair and just land claims resolution process can
provide the momentum for movement on key issues for First Nations and Canada.
    "I believe that we can build on that spirit of cooperation, mutual
respect and mutual engagement to achieve mutually-beneficial ends," said
National Chief Fontaine. "First Nations have setout achievable, affordable and
comprehensive plan for progress. We have the vision, we have the expertise, we
have the resources. All we need is the political will from government. We hope
Canadians will join us to call on the government to work with us for a
stronger, more united Canada."

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




For further information:

For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 229, cell (613) 293-6106, bhendry@afn.ca; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor - Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789, ext
243, (613) 298-6382, npine@afn.ca; Rene Pollett, Communications Specialist,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 314, cell (613) 295-2149, rpollett@afn.ca


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