GATINEAU, QC, Dec. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde opened the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) yesterday and spoke to the need for Canada to keep its promise of a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau addressed Chiefs and leaders that afternoon, and agreed to move on key commitments as called for by the National Chief to work in partnership with First Nations to revitalize Indigenous languages and create an Indigenous Languages Act, and to "de-colonialize" federal laws and policies through a full collaborative review with First Nations.
"The Prime Minister made important commitments to revitalize First Nations languages and respect First Nations rights through a joint effort to de-colonialize Canada's laws and policies," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "And we welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to recover and revitalize First Nations languages, which are the original languages of this country. We look forward to working in partnership on these priorities."
The Prime Minister spoke to more than 1,200 delegates gathered for the Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) in Gatineau, Quebec. The Prime Minister stated his government will commit to "a joint effort with Indigenous Peoples, aimed at de-colonializing Canada's laws and policies" and to "enact an Indigenous Languages Act, co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection, and revitalization of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit languages in this country." The Prime Minister reaffirmed commitments to end all Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations communities within five years and honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action that fall under federal responsibility, among other promises.
"First Nations are ready to move in partnership to make a real difference for our children and our future," said National Chief Bellegarde. "Our priorities are Canada's priorities. If we can close the social and economic gap, not only will First Nations move ahead but Canada as a country will move ahead and win as well. It's time for action."
The detailed agenda for the #AFNSCA is available at: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/16-12-02_sca_agenda_public_final.pdf
Note that times are subject to change. Media can contact AFN Communications Officers for the latest information. The SCA will be webcast on the AFN website at www.afn.ca
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow the #AFNSCA on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-292-0857 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org; Jenn Jefferys, AFN Communications Officer, 613-222-9656 (cell), email@example.com