New AFN Chief ‘has a lot of work to do’

Canim Lake Band chief: relationships with government key to progress

The Assembly of First Nations’ (AFN) new chief has a lot of work ahead of him, mending and improving government and aboriginal relationships, according to Canim Lake Band Chief Mike Archie.

Perry Bellegarde, the former Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, won handily with more than 60 per cent of the votes on the first ballot in an election held in Winnipeg on Dec. 10.

However, the vote was also held amidst criticism from grassroots Indigenous rights groups, Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, which believe the AFN, mandated to advance the interests of aboriginal communities across Canada, is failing and disconnected from the communities it is suppose to serve.

Bellegarde lost a close race for the AFN’s top job in 2009 to Shawn Atleo, who stepped down in May after supporting Bill C-33, a controversial education bill that received opposition from many First Nations across the country.

“Regardless if it’s Perry Bellegarde or anybody else in that position, I think the AFN has a lot of work to do on its relationship with the government, as well as our First Nations communities across Canada,” says Archie.

Archie adds he believes the AFN is still a viable source to advance First Nations issues.

In a statement, Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, congratulated Bellegarde, adding the federal government believes Aboriginal Peoples should have the same quality of life as all other Canadians.

“We have taken action to help address some of the key impediments to treaty negotiations and are engaging Aboriginal People on broader reforms to advance reconciliation and encourage economic development across the country.”

The AFN vote also comes after the Supreme Court of Canada’s historical decision in June affirming aboriginal title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation of its traditional territory in the British Columbia Interior. The ruling ostensibly gives First Nations more leverage in land-use decision-making and resource development negotiations on their territory.

Archie says the recognition of title lands and rights and advancing the Tsilhqot’in decision are issues the AFN should be focused on.

“We have to benefit from the resources of our traditional territory. So far, the system has basically denied the very existence of aboriginal people, our rights and our title to the land, with a system that’s a foreign system that really didn’t work for us.

“We need to be recognized as a government. Our voice needs to be heard.”

Archie stresses the importance of local government-to-government relationships in advancing his community’s interests.

“I think the bottom line is, as a First Nations community here in Canim Lake, aside from the First Nations political table and the challenges we face, we’re always mindful and respectful of our relationship with the 100 Mile area. That’s key to us moving forward.”

 

Just Posted

Ministry announces highway road work planned for 100 Mile House this spring

Drivers can expect delays and at times single lane, alternating traffic

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

BC Bus North service extended to September

Transportation ministers have extended the service, which was set to expire at the end of May

Annual 100 Mile House Easter Egg Hunt a great success

Around 200 kids showed up to scavenge for chocolate

Woman dies after suffering ‘medical event’ while driving north of Lac la Hache

Initial report was that an older female had driven into the side of a hill, was not responsive

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Most Read