OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed his support for efforts by Yukon
First Nation leaders to achieve full implementation of the negotiated
self-government agreements, particularly for the Crown to fulfill its
responsibilities under such agreements.
"Yukon First Nation leaders are driving change for the betterment of
their citizens and communities by building capacity and advancing their
rights and responsibilities," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo who
met with leaders from Yukon region in Whitehorse today. "First Nations
across Canada are taking forward plans for self-determination. By
building capacity at the community level based on our interests and
values, First Nations will be better equipped to lead change in ways
that are best suited for our success and prosperity."
"It is clear that Canada's comprehensive land claims policy and inherent
rights policies have not kept up with evolving jurisprudence and
instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples - let alone with the vision and ambitions of Yukon
First Nation governments," said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Eric Morris.
"Self-government agreements were negotiated in good faith and it's time
for the Crown to return to the original spirit and intent agreed to as
part of the implementation of these modern agreements. By strengthening
First Nations capacity to govern our own lives, we can move away from
the Indian Act which is not working for our peoples or Canada."
"Ultimately, this is about the real recognition of Indigenous Peoples,
our governments and jurisdiction, our rights and our relationships with
the land. This is about the pursuit of self-determination and a clear
respectful partnership with the Crown," said Council of Yukon First
Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie. "However, implementation remains a
consistent issue as the Crown has failed its obligations in many
aspects such as attempts to impose unilateral fiscal arrangements
during negotiations that are not consistent with the spirit of Yukon
The leaders met to discuss strategies and options to address ongoing
challenges. Independent dispute resolution was discussed as a possible
way forward to ensure effective implementation. Based on the
discussion, National Chief Atleo committed to advancing options for
consideration with the federal government.
National Chief Atleo also had an opportunity to meet with Yukon First
Nation students and learners during his time in the north. He visited
the Elijah Smith Elementary School and was welcomed by the students
with a traditional song. He attended a community celebration focused
on a Student Mentorship Program created and operated by CYFN in
partnership with Yukon First Nation youth leaders and high school
"There is so much that Canada can learn from Yukon First Nations," said
National Chief Atleo. "With their positive attitude, a confident
approach, and abundant support for one another - First Nations can
transform the relationship with Canada and all Canadians, and lift up
our future generations for a better future for us all. As I've seen
during my many visits to this territory, clearly the future is bright
for Yukon First Nations families and children."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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