Assembly of First Nations National Chief Supports Youth Walk of Hope on Suicide Awareness and Action

OTTAWA, June 23, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today expressed support for the young people of the Mushkegowuk First Nation communities, commending their leadership as they set out on the Youth Walk of Hope. The youth will trek more than 865 kilometers to raise awareness of the suicide pandemic in First Nations communities and their calls for positive change towards a better future.

"One doesn't have to be elected to be a leader. Our youth are already demonstrating they are today's leaders and are providing us all with hope and inspiration," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "This is an extraordinary show of commitment to their brothers and sisters, and their communities. These young people on the Youth Walk of Hope will make their way to our upcoming AFN Youth Summit and AFN Annual General Assembly in July and their voices will be heard.  We are honoured they will be there. We fully support them and their efforts."

"Over the last few months, many Mushkegowuk young people reached out to my office in their quest for a better future leading to healthier families and communities," said Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon, who plans to join the walkers along the way. "Today, I'm calling on our political leaders and also all levels of government to say it is time for immediate action. We have lost too much time talking as we have seen for too long hopelessness ravage our communities. These young warriors deserve honor and respect for their strength and resiliency along this journey and let's all pray for their continued safety."

The Youth Walk of Hope is a suicide awareness campaign initiated by the young people in the Mushkegowuk First Nation communities. The Walk started in Cochrane, Ontario on Monday June 7th and the youth will journey more than 865 kilometers with an arrival on Saturday July 9th in Niagara Falls, Ontario, site of this year's AFN Annual General Assembly. They will address the AFN Youth Summit on Sunday July 10th.

Support the Youth Walk of Hope at:

For more information on the Walk and ways to support the youth see the Facebook page at: and on Twitter with hashtags #Lovelife #Walkofhope #RiseofNation

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.


SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or

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