Assembly of First Nations National Chief demands that Federal Government Immediately Repudiate and Remove Reference to First Nations from Military's Terror Manual List



    OTTAWA, April 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine today demanded that the federal government immediately remove
any reference to First Nations in a Department of National Defense draft
counter-insurgency manual listing international terrorist threats. According
to a report by The Globe and Mail, radical Native American organizations such
as the Mohawk Warriors Society are listed in the training manual as
insurgents, alongside other insurgent groups.
    "Any reference to First Nations people as possible insurgents or
terrorists is a direct attack on us - it demonizes us, it threatens our safety
and security and attempts to criminalize our legitimate right to live our
lives like all other Canadians do. Just being referenced in such a document
compromises our freedom to travel across borders, have unimpeded telephone and
internet communications, raise money, and protest against injustices to our
people," stated AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine.
    "I am calling upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately and
without reservation, reject and remove any references to First Nations from
all versions of the training manual."
    "It is shocking and outrageous to learn that the Canadian military would
consider First Nations people as insurgents or equate us to Hezbollah or
Hamas. Not only is there not a shred of evidence to make this link, First
Nations have always served Canada well by their contributions to the Canadian
services. Such absurd allegations only serve to undermine respect for the
military and lead us to believe we will not be able to rely on their
protection the way other Canadians do."
    Moreover, the federal government has also recently threatened that it
would aggressively audit and possibly cut off funding provided to First
Nations organizations who participate in, or support a peaceful National Day
of Action on June 29th. This, taken with the report that we are included in
the list of insurgent organisations in the military's manual, raises serious
questions about the federal government's respect for freedom of speech and
freedom of assembly for First Nations people. It appears that they want to
silence us.
    "The proposed June 29th National Day of Action is intended to bring focus
to and generate awareness of the deplorable social - economic status of First
Nations peoples in this country. Too often, First Nations poverty and the
injustices suffered by our communities are not well understood. We aim to
begin changing that by reaching out to Canadians and by putting our issues and
our solutions front and center. First Nations people are people of integrity
and we will abide by the rule of law while exercising our right to free
speech," said the National Chief.

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




For further information:

For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Communications Director, (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, cell: (613) 298-6382, npine@afn.ca


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