Assembly of First Nations joins Native American Leaders to witness history as Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States of America



    OTTAWA, Jan. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - National Chief Phil Fontaine led a
delegation from the Assembly of First Nations, including some Regional Chiefs,
to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama today as special
guests of the Cherokee Nation and the National Congress of American Indians.
    "Today we are joining our Native American brothers and sisters, and all
Americans, in the celebration and realization of a dream that has been
centuries in the making," said National Chief Fontaine. "Nearly 150 years
after President Lincoln emancipated the slaves, President Barack Obama is
being sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States of America.
More than being a powerful leader of a powerful country, President Barack
Obama is also a powerful symbol of hope and change to billions of people all
over the world," added National Chief Fontaine.
    "Today we join the representatives from the Cherokee Nation and the
National Congress of American Indians in celebrating the realization of a
dream of racial harmony that was articulated by great North American leaders
like Tecumseh and Martin Luther King, Jr. We are ready to work together with
them to make real change for Indigenous peoples worldwide," stated National
Chief Fontaine.
    Yesterday, National Chief Fontaine and NCAI officials met with Native
American advisors to President-elect Obama to discuss various issues of mutual
concern, from human rights to economic development.
    "We were pleased to hear from our Native American brothers and sisters
about how the candidacy of President Barack Obama inspired and mobilized
millions of Native Americans to become involved and to vote in the various
electoral processes of the United States of America. As a result, Native
Americans are more organized and mobilized their vote to make their voices
heard. Native Americans are now better represented in Washington, D.C., have
greater access to power and they will wield tremendous political influence
over the policy decisions that will directly affect all of the Native American
Tribes," commented National Chief Fontaine.
    "The Assembly of First Nations will continue to build upon its
Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation with the National Congress of American
Indians and our bilateral relations with the Cherokee Nation and other Native
American Tribes during the tenure of President Obama. We look forward to
achieving tangible progress on issues of mutual concern and to improve the
quality of life of all our Indigenous peoples here in Canada, in the Americas
and around the world," concluded National Chief Fontaine.

    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; Gina Cosentino, Government Relations and International Affairs,
National Chief"s Office, Assembly of First Nations, Cell: (613) 314-2661,
gcosentino@afn.ca


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