National Chief Phil Fontaine Applauds today's Announcement by Prime Minister to Resolve Backlog of Specific Land Claims

    OTTAWA, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine said today's announcement by the Prime Minister is a positive
response to what our people have advocated for decades, and it is a testament
to the perseverance and dedication of our people.
    "This is a historic announcement, and a day to applaud the federal
government on its commitment to resolving the growing land claims backlog,"
said National Chief Phil Fontaine, in reaction to Prime Minister Harper's
announcement on a proposed new process to resolve specific land claims.
    "First Nations have been calling for a fair, independent, binding, and
just approach to resolving specific land claims for decades now. In the coming
days and over the summer, the AFN will be working with government to draft new
Specific Claims legislation that will hopefully speed up the backlog of
hundreds of unresolved treaty claims that have been the source of so much
frustration among our people," said National Chief Fontaine. "The government's
commitment to our full engagement in implementing this important initiative
will be critical to its success."
    "I want to point out that while today's announcement is a significant
step in the right direction, it is only one piece in a much larger puzzle that
also requires immediate action," stressed National Chief Fontaine. "Too many
of our people and our communities are mired in poverty and despair. We must
address these conditions.
    "Land is part of the answer to building strong First Nations economies
and strong First Nations citizens. This requires that we have the ability to
take control of the decisions that affect our lives so we can reduce
dependency and foster self-sufficiency. In doing so, we will build a stronger
Canada for all Canadians.
    "We invite everyone to join us on June 29 in our National Day of Action,
education, and awareness," added the National Chief. "We invite you to walk
with us, talk with us, learn more about First Nations, and take action to make
poverty history."

For further information:

For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications,
(613) 241-6789, ext. 229, cell: (613) 293-6106,; Nancy Pine,
Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789, ext.
243, cell: (613) 298-6382,; Rene Pollett, Communications
Specialist, (613) 241-6789, ext. 314, cell: (613) 295-2149,

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