OTTAWA, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed support for 'March 4
Justice' - a social justice campaign led by Leo Baskatawang whose
cross-country walk culminated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa today.
"I've had the pleasure of meeting with Leo a couple of times during his
trek from Vancouver to Ottawa for social justice, and I fully support
his efforts to highlight some of the daily and ongoing challenges First
Nation peoples face as a result of the Indian Act," said AFN National
Chief Shawn Atleo. "This kind of grassroots initiative and leadership
is important to raise awareness and prompt effective dialogue as we
press to achieve change nationally by implementing First Nation rights,
responsibilities and jurisdiction."
Joined by Ashley Bottle, Clifford Acoby, Edmond Jack, April Sawanas and
Stephanie MacLaurin at different times along the journey, Mr.
Baskatawang left Vancouver, B.C. April 23 with a copy of the Indian Act
chained to his body. He explains this demonstration will 'symbolize
how, we, as (First Nation) peoples, have essentially been imprisoned by
this piece of legislation in the past, as well as now; it will
demonstrate our collective enmity toward this document; as well as
symbolize its future erosion, not withdrawal entirely, by dragging it
across the countryside.'
Many First Nations across Canada are advancing plans to move away from
the Indian Act in ways that work for themselves and their communities.
"Moving beyond the Indian Act is about ending unilateral approaches by
government and supporting and empowering First Nation governments to
drive solutions in ways that respect their rights, responsibilities and
decision-making abilities," said National Chief Atleo. "March 4 Justice
is one of many efforts to draw attention to the need for action-based
change and the momentum among First Nations to drive this change. We
cannot do it alone, however. Working together is the basis of the
commitments made at the Crown-First Nations Gathering in January of
this year. First Nations are pressing to achieve change based on the
Crown-First Nation relationships and building solutions that work for
their people and their communities."
For more information on Leo Baskatawang or March 4 Justice, follow
@march_4_justice on Twitter.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms.
SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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