OTTAWA, Jan. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomes the commitment by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a focused working meeting between First Nation leaders scheduled for next Friday.
"This is an important and essential next step in our broad efforts to fully and meaningfully engage in a nation-to-nation relationship, as outlined in Treaties and in advancing First Nation inherent rights and responsibilities," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "This is an opportunity for the Government of Canada and Crown to honour their responsibilities with First Nations in this country. We look forward to engaging in urgent reforms in priority areas as led by First Nations and to build the solid foundation for tangible results for our peoples. First Nations are ready and committed to the hard work ahead. We have been doing this for decades, and now is the time for change. We cannot and will not lose another generation to mistakes of past or by continuing a broken system perpetuated by government unilateralism."
National Chief Atleo's comments follow a statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper committing to a focused working meeting with First Nation leaders next Friday January 11, 2013. The National Executive of the Assembly of First Nations sent an Open letter on December 16, 2012 and an urgent invitation on January 1, 2013 seeking a commitment to a meeting between First Nations and the Crown.
Today is Day 25 of Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike, and follows continued calls, and increasing support, by leaders and grassroots citizens, for a meeting between First Nations and the Crown.
"On behalf of the AFN national executive, I commend all those standing up and standing together with Chief Theresa Spence, Elder Raymond Robinson and others asserting their rights and acting for positive change for our peoples," said National Chief Atleo. "This is a true moment of reckoning of which we must seize to ensure a better future for our young people and all Indigenous peoples in this country. A fundamental transformation in the relationship between First Nations and Canada is surging under our feet. We must return to our responsibilities as set out by all our ancestors and we must do that now. We will need all of our citizens engaged in driving change forward now in every First Nation and in every region."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates and @AFN_Comms.
SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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