AFN National Chief accepts historic 'rebuilding our nations Youth Accord'

    OTTAWA, Nov. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, hundreds of First Nations youth from
across Canada gathered in Winnipeg to complete a draft five-year action plan
called: The Rebuilding Our Nations Youth Accord. The Accord will set out
specific actions to address health, cultural, economic, political and social
issues. A draft of the Accord was presented to AFN National Chief Phil
Fontaine and Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Ron Evans.
    "The Rebuilding Our Nations Youth Accord lays out concrete actions
everyone in our community can take to improve the health and social well-being
of First Nations, by targeting the greatest needs of our youth," said National
Chief Phil Fontaine. "About 60 per cent of your population is under 30 years
old. Clearly, addressing youth issues is a priority for our leadership. As
National Chief, father and grandfather, I am both proud and hopeful to have
received this Accord which is a blueprint towards a better future for our
youth and was designed by the youth themselves. It is a remarkable
achievement. We are committed to work with them to put the plan into action."
    "The very foundation of these recommendations stem back to who we are as
people, based on our cultures and languages. This foundation will guide us
through the action plan developed by the youth," said AFN National Youth
Council Co-Chair Travis Boissoneau.
    "This event is a reflection of the unified voice that speaks on the
urgency and need for action. First Nations youth participants are calling on
leadership to be included and engaged in the political process on all areas,"
continues AFN National Youth Council Co-Chair Nicole Minde.
    "It brings me tremendous joy to see our First Nations youth coming
together to develop a five-year action plan. It is our talented youth who have
the power to make change; they have the power to make these recommendations a
reality," said Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Ron Evans. "As a First Nations
leader I value the importance of our young people and I look forward to
supporting and working together in implementing these initiatives that will
benefit all of our people and generations to come."
    "Every generation is responsible for the Seventh Generation that is
coming up," said Southern Grand Chief Morris J. Shannacappo. "Be the best
ancestor you can be."

    Some of highlights in the Accord are:

    - Mandatory First Nation history curriculum in the public education
      system and a requirement for all teachers to take mandatory courses in
      First Nations history;

    - Recognize First Nations languages as official languages of Canada;

    - Mobilize First Nations youth in voting campaigns;

    - Establish a First Nations History Month;

    - Establish First Nations youth governance systems including
      regular youth gatherings;

    - Increase funding to First Nations schools and addressing the crisis in
      post-secondary funding;

    - Create healing circles to address intergenerational impacts;

    - Create environmentally friendly enterprises more aligned with First
      Nations values;

    - Strengthen the child welfare system including better support to
      families as a first measure

    The Accord will be presented to the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly,
December 11-13, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario.

    The Assembly of First Nations is the National Organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Health Communications (613)

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