MONTRÉAL, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ - First Nation leaders, youth and Elders from across Canada concluded the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 36th Annual General Assembly in Montreal today with a renewed commitment to drive reconciliation and close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians.
"I am proud to say that we are coming out of this Assembly strong and united, standing together and standing up for our people back home by committing to action to close the gap," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "We will make this the era of reconciliation. We will drive this work and extend our hand to Canadians to move with us. Closing the gap is good for all of us. Our issues are Canada's issues. Our priorities are Canada's priorities. We will push for a change and we are mobilizing for the upcoming federal election in October to ensure there will be action on our priorities."
More than 1,000 delegates, including hundreds of Chiefs, attended the AFN Assembly from July 7-9 in Montreal. Delegates discussed strategy and action on key priorities including mobilizing the First Nations vote for the upcoming federal election, AFN restructuring and nation-building, action on the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, First Nations and energy development, and First Nations education. There were focused dialogue sessions on a range of issues including ending violence against Indigenous women and girls, Indigenous languages, Treaties, land rights and claims, and child welfare.
The Assembly heard from New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May.
"First Nations are a force to be reckoned with and our voices are being heard," said National Chief Bellegarde. "We have set our strategic direction to take control of the agenda and act to give life to our rights and Treaties. We say to our own people: let's move, let's mobilize, let's light the fires of change."
A number of resolutions were adopted on key issues at the Annual General Assembly and will be publicly available on the AFN website and shared with First Nations in the immediate future.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates #AFNAGA.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations