Assembly of First Nations National Chief to Attend Council of Federation, Takes Forward First Nation-directed Priorities

OTTAWA, July 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Less than one week after his re-election as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Shawn A-in-chut Atleo will take the strong message and mandate from First Nations in Canada to the Council of the Federation taking place in Halifax this week.

"I look forward to continuing to advocate strongly for action in priority areas, taking forward the very clear direction by First Nations from coast to coast to coast on priority issues, including education, resource development, and safety and security for Indigenous women and girls through rights recognition, Treaty implementation and claims reform as well as building solutions that improve the lives of all First Nations peoples," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, who was re-elected for a second three-year term during the AFN 33rd Annual General Assembly in Toronto last week.

"We are moving forward with a refreshed mandate from the voices of First Nations across Canada to act now for change today and for the future," said National Chief Atleo.  "There is a powerful and important opportunity before First Nations, governments and all Canadians and we must act now to truly transform the status quo of First Nations in this country."

During the meeting of Premiers and National Aboriginal Leaders taking place in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia tomorrow, National Chief Atleo will take forward specific direction and proposals from First Nations on priority areas as mandated and reaffirmed by Chiefs-in-Assembly just last week.  He will also press for support of a call by First Nations for a National inquiry on Murdered and Missing Aboriginal women and girls and strengthening critical health outcomes of First Nations peoples.

"We all have a role to play when it comes to fulfilling the vision of all our ancestors and the promises made in Treaties," said National Chief Atleo.  "While the principal relationship with First Nations is with the federal government and Crown, the Council of the Federation is an important venue to continue to urge provinces and territories to do their part as well, particularly in the areas of education and resource development.  Implementing First Nation rights and Treaties must finally be taken seriously so that First Nations can achieve their full potential in this country.  This means full recognition of First Nation inherent rights by provinces, territories and all governments, the implementation of Treaties and support for the building of First Nation governments and economies."

More than 500 First Nation leaders gathered in Toronto last week to reaffirm a direction forward, re-electing National Chief Atleo and engaging in focused dialogue and strategy sessions for action in advancing First Nation priorities.

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

SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

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