OTTAWA, Jan. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomes the commitment by Prime
Minister Stephen Harper for a focused working meeting between First
Nation leaders scheduled for next Friday.
"This is an important and essential next step in our broad efforts to
fully and meaningfully engage in a nation-to-nation relationship, as
outlined in Treaties and in advancing First Nation inherent rights and
responsibilities," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "This is an
opportunity for the Government of Canada and Crown to honour their
responsibilities with First Nations in this country. We look forward
to engaging in urgent reforms in priority areas as led by First Nations
and to build the solid foundation for tangible results for our
peoples. First Nations are ready and committed to the hard work ahead.
We have been doing this for decades, and now is the time for change. We
cannot and will not lose another generation to mistakes of past or by
continuing a broken system perpetuated by government unilateralism."
National Chief Atleo's comments follow a statement by Prime Minister
Stephen Harper committing to a focused working meeting with First
Nation leaders next Friday January 11, 2013. The National Executive of
the Assembly of First Nations sent an Open letter on December 16, 2012
and an urgent invitation on January 1, 2013 seeking a commitment to a
meeting between First Nations and the Crown.
Today is Day 25 of Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence's
hunger strike, and follows continued calls, and increasing support, by
leaders and grassroots citizens, for a meeting between First Nations
and the Crown.
"On behalf of the AFN national executive, I commend all those standing
up and standing together with Chief Theresa Spence, Elder Raymond
Robinson and others asserting their rights and acting for positive
change for our peoples," said National Chief Atleo. "This is a true
moment of reckoning of which we must seize to ensure a better future
for our young people and all Indigenous peoples in this country. A
fundamental transformation in the relationship between First Nations
and Canada is surging under our feet. We must return to our
responsibilities as set out by all our ancestors and we must do that
now. We will need all of our citizens engaged in driving change forward
now in every First Nation and in every region."
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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