Chief Shawn 'A-in-chut' Atleo launches campaign for Assembly of First Nations National Chief



    COAST SALISH TERRITORY, May 28 /CNW/ - Yesterday, Shawn 'A-in-chut'
Altleo, hereditary Chief of the House of Glakiskpiitl of the Alhousaht First
Nation, accepted a nomination to run for National Chief of the Assembly of
First Nations, outlining his vision to unite First Nations across Canada in a
true Assembly of Nations.
    "It's our time. We are at a turning point in our history where we need to
return to the real meaning of our nationhood and identities," says A-in-chut.
"We must stand proud and together, strengthened in unity, for our traditions,
our laws, our lands and our territories. We must work together to ensure
healthy families and communities; to achieve sustainable economies; and to
return to living in balance with our environment."
    A-in-chut's platform, Gather Voices: It's Our Time, was shaped by the
shared wisdom of Chiefs, youth, elders and leaders across Canada. It outlines
a vision for change rooted by four strong, interrelated and mutually dependant
pillars:

    
    A FOUR PILLAR STRATEGY TO SUCCESS

    1)  First Nations Families and Communities: AFN will work with and
        support First Nations to ensure respect for, well-being of, and
        opportunity for, First Nations youth, families and communities.
        Through education and skills training, we have an opportunity to
        overcome the attempts of the residential school system to destroy our
        culture and language by dividing our communities and families. This
        is our time to use education as our tool to retain and maintain the
        strength of First Nations languages, history, teachings and values
        while facilitating better understanding between First Nations and the
        rest of Canadian society. This will support the rebuilding of
        families and communities and promote First Nations participation in
        strong and sustainable economies locally and nationally. This is our
        time to empower our fast growing youth population in ways that will
        ensure a future of opportunity, success and prosperity. The voices of
        our youth must be heard, understood and included.

    2)  Treaties, Title and Rights: AFN will approach all rights-based
        discussions and efforts grounded by the full understanding that First
        Nations have inherent jurisdiction as indigenous peoples of this
        land. In a focused and inclusive manner, the AFN will support First
        Nations to implement our sacred treaties and our constitutionally
        protected title and rights using clear standards, such as those set
        out as a minimum in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
        Indigenous Peoples. It is our time to take steps to implement First
        Nations inherent rights and jurisdiction by supporting traditional
        governance, achieving acceptable consultation and accommodation
        standards and securing resource revenues sharing.

    3)  Economy and Environment: AFN will support First Nations in pursuing a
        vision of sustainable economic self-sufficiency achieved by ensuring
        investments in stable community infrastructure and effective business
        partnerships. By being active participants in economic development,
        we can better ensure First Nations economies thrive, creating wealth
        and jobs and supporting our people to have an active role in shaping
        the national economy. It is our time to take a leadership role as
        indigenous peoples to balance development opportunities and
        conservation of the earth through environmental protection and green
        development.

    4)  Nation Building, First Nation Governments: AFN will be truly an
        "Assembly of Nations" providing political advocacy, support and
        coordination for First Nations to unite with collective strength to
        rebuild our nations. AFN will support First Nations, as the rightful
        holders of title, rights and as signatories to treaties, to engage
        with governments and serve their citizens wherever they may reside,
        based on the full recognition of the autonomy, diversity and
        interdependence of First Nations. AFN will advocate for full
        recognition of First Nations' jurisdiction and sustainable transfer
        agreements based on real costs across all policy areas such as
        education, health prevention and treatment, children and families,
        justice and others that support and build our government and service
        capacity. It is our time to build our nations by unifying our voice
        and taking the necessary steps toward the full and final displacement
        of the Indian Act.

    About A-in-chut:
    

    Chief Shawn "A-in-chut" Atleo has served First Nations for 23 years and
over this time has earned a reputation as a leader, negotiator and
facilitator. In 1999, Shawn was named 'A-in-chut' and seated as hereditary
Chief of the House of Glakishpiitl of the Ahousaht First Nations. In 2003,
A-in-chut was elected Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First
Nations (BCAFN) by the Chiefs of British Columbia, and is currently completing
his second term in this capacity.
    As the BC Regional Chief, A-in-chut is also a founding member of the BC
First Nations Leadership Council - a group comprised of the BCAFN, Union of BC
Indian Chiefs and First Nations Summit allowing all three organizations to
collectively work together to protect the interests of First Nations in BC and
to ensure that Aboriginal Title and Rights are recognized, accommodated and
reconciled through government-to-government relationships. Over the past six
years as BC Regional Chief, A-in chut has made numerous contributions to the
political field within his community among First Nations and in/between local,
national and international governments.
    A-in-chut graduated in 2003 with a Masters of Education in Adult Learning
and Global Change from the University of Technology, Sydney Australia (in
partnership with University of British Columbia, University of the Western
Cape South Africa, and University of Linkoping Sweden). Most recently
A-in-chut was installed as the Chancellor of Vancouver Island University in
Nanaimo BC, becoming the first aboriginal from BC to be named to such a role.

    About the Assembly of First Nations:

    The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national organization
representing First Nations citizens in Canada. There are 633 First Nations
communities in Canada and Chiefs from each Nation will vote to elect the
National Chief in Calgary, Alberta on July 22, 2009.





For further information:

For further information: Rhonda Sim, Campaign Co-chair, cell:
1-877-SHAWN-09 (1-877-742-9609), email: sim@shawnatleo.com, web:
http://www.shawnatleo.com; Media Contact: Chantelle Krish, cell: (778)
990-9544, email: media@shawnatleo.com, web: http://www.shawnatleo.com

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