OTTAWA, Jan. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today continued calls for solidarity,
engagement and action by First Nations and the Crown. First Nation
leaders will meet on the anniversary of the Crown-First Nations
Gathering January 24, 2013 and an urgent invitation to the Prime
Minister and the Governor General to commit to attend this meeting was
sent on January 1, 2013.
"First Nations across this country have been voicing concern and
frustration with a broken system that does not address long-standing
disparities between First Nations and the rest of Canada, and address
priorities in ways that will provide for long-term solutions and
sustainability," said National Chief Atleo, further acknowledging the
actions of First Nation citizens, leaders and supporters, including
Elder Raymond Robinson from Cross Lake Manitoba and Chief Theresa
Spence of Attawapiskat who have been without food since December 11,
2012, calling attention to the urgent need for the Crown to respect and
honour its duty to work with First Nations to implement Treaties.
"There is no excuse for inaction either by First Nation leadership or by
Canada," said National Chief Atleo. "First Nations are ready to do the
hard work to address our many challenges and achieve a better future
for our children. We must see concrete commitment and action. It's
time for the Crown to honour its relationship and responsibilities to
First Nations starting with the recognition and affirmation of our
inherent and Treaty rights. It's time for all First Nations citizens
and their leaders to drive solutions."
January 24 will mark one year since the Crown-First Nations gathering
where First Nation leaders, the Governor General and Prime Minister
Harper committed to work on a number of key areas, including Treaty
implementation and comprehensive claims, strengthened First Nation
governance and fiscal relations, economic development and education.
In a December 29 letter to First Nation leadership, National Chief Atleo
highlighted the importance of nation-based solutions, and the need for
all First Nations to engage at the community level. "I and the AFN
Executive support and encourage community-level and treaty-level
meetings to advance priorities first and foremost in the homes and
territories of our Nations," wrote National Chief Atleo also
acknowledging the support from Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
across the country and beyond. "It is our way and our responsibility
to understand and achieve our priorities together, led by our peoples.
Our role at the regional and national level is to offer full support
for First Nation driven initiatives and solutions to recognize, respect
and implement our rights and responsibilities."
"Through the 'Idle No More' movement, we have seen a tremendous outpouring of energy, pride and
determination by our peoples in recent weeks," said National Chief
Atleo. "This level of citizen and community engagement is absolutely
essential to achieve the change we all want to see in every First
Nation - the hard work of re-building our Nations, our governments and
protecting our lands, waters and territories. "
"First Nations are engaging in a peaceful assertion of our rights and
our responsibilities." said National Chief Atleo. "We can and must do
this work together. We express our thanks to all and in particular the
women and youth leadership who have spoken up forcefully and
effectively. We support and care for all of our peoples to be safe and
secure especially our children. We are stronger together. And we extend
this invitation and encouragement to all Canadians to join us in
understanding and support to achieve fairness and justice."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates
SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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