OTTAWA, Oct. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, on the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation by King George III, Assembly of
First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo strongly urged
the federal government to join First Nations in acting now for change.
At a press conference in Ottawa, National Chief Atleo cited this
significant anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on and reset the
relationship between First Nations and Canada, reminding the federal
government and all Canadians of the unique relationship between First
Nations and the Crown (now Canada) established hundreds of years ago
with the intent for all nations to succeed.
"The 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation is about reflecting and focusing
on the work we must do today to act on our commitments to one another
to drive change together," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Today
and every day we must recall the intent that brought all our ancestors
together so many years ago, and ensure that the principles of mutual
respect, mutual recognition and partnership are our guides going
forward to achieve a better life for all of us. Too many First Nation
children, families and communities are challenged on a daily basis to
meet basic standards of life because we are not living up to the
promises in the Treaties and other agreements that stem from the
foundation of the Royal Proclamation."
October 7 marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation which led to the Treaty of
Niagara between the British Crown and First Nations through wampum
diplomacy and the exchange of 24 Nations Wampum Belts and the 1764
Covenant Chain August 1, 1764. Some First Nations view the
Proclamation as a precursor to colonization, yet it is also seen as
setting the foundation for Treaty-making between First Nations and the
Crown (now Canada). Recognizing and affirming Aboriginal title to
First Nation lands, these events were significant in creating a
foundation for subsequent Treaties based on a nation-to-nation
relationship grounded in mutual respect, mutual recognition and
partnership - principles that remain relevant and essential today.
"The approach, laws and policies of federal governments have been
paternalistic at best and assimilationist at worst," said National
Chief Atleo. "Our work today is about returning to approaches that
recognize First Nations authority over our lives, our lands and our
peoples, where First Nation governments are strong, the Treaties are
alive and honoured and Treaty-making allows all of us to thrive. Let
today mark an 'era of action.' It's clear to everyone that the
paternalistic approach is not working and the status quo is failing
everyone. We must commit today to return to the original relationship
and act together for change."
National Chief Atleo will be joining First Nation Elders, leaders and
community members at a number of events marking 250 years of the Royal
Proclamation, including a sunrise ceremony in Ottawa earlier today.
National Chief Atleo will participate in a public reception at the
Museum of Civilization this evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. He
will then travel to London, U.K. for a reception at the High Commission
on October 8 and October 9 will deliver a keynote address at Oxford
University. AFN Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde and representatives
from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations held a sunrise
ceremony today in London, U.K. and are participating in a number of
other commemorative events there as well.
"I strongly encourage First Nations and all Canadians to participate in
events here in Ottawa and across the country, to learn more about our
shared history and our shared relationship, understanding that we all
have responsibilities to uphold our promises to one another. This is
how we will move forward to realize the full potential of First Nations
and Canada," said National Chief Atleo.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or email@example.com