GATINEAU, QC, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated that First Nations are united in their push for fundamental change to the status quo and a new approach to deal with the long-standing issues that have held back First Nations and Canada. On the closing day of the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly, the National Chief received a letter from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in which the Prime Minister agreed to the National Chief's call for a First Nations-Crown Gathering with a focused agenda to set out concrete plans to transform the approach to First Nation education, economies and governments.
"The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is now a reality and First Nations are taking action to transform our communities, governments and our relationship with Canada," said National Chief Atleo. "I am pleased that the Prime Minister has responded to our call to work in respectful partnership to craft concrete plans for progress on our priorities. I congratulate the Chiefs for their hard work and contributions over the last three days."
The Special Chiefs Assembly saw significant actions, including:
- First Nations leaders re-affirming their commitment to openness and transparency to their citizens;
- First Nation youth speaking passionately about action on education and the upcoming joint work on education by the Government of Canada and AFN;
- the federal Minister of Health agreeing to renew the joint Task Group with AFN, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to improve the effectiveness of First Nations health services;
- and First Nations leaders calling for Canada to respect the Aboriginal and Treaty right to clean drinking water and expressing a willingness to work collaboratively with the government to change the flawed Bill S-11 that is moving through parliament.
The National Chief stated: "We are no longer looking in the rearview mirror at the Indian Act but focusing our gaze forward on our vision of a brighter future founded on the principles of our Treaties, our rights and the UN Declaration. This will make a stronger Canada for all Canadians."
The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.
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