December 15, 2014
Elected as new national chief of Assembly of First Nations December 10, 2014
YELLOWKNIFE – It took the first-ballot to name Saskatchewan’s Perry Bellegarde as the new National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
Dene National Chief and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for the Northwest Territories, Bill Erasmus said, “Firstly, the Dene Nation congratulates the new Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde on taking 63 per cent of the 464 votes. Erasmus said, “We know that the new National Chief will do well because of his experience and confidence that people have put in him. It’s not an easy job.” Erasmus commented on the many important tasks ahead and that the AFN National Chief will collaborate on the many different fronts as he oversees the restructuring of the organization during the next three-and-a-half years.”
At the election in Winnipeg, the former interim AFN leader Ghislain Picard finished second as Leon Jourdain from Ontario, finished third.
The Dene Nation is looking forward to working with the new AFN National Chief on the many issues concerning First Nations and the priorities for the north. In June 2013, Mr. Bellegarde attended the 44th Dene National Assembly in Fort Smith. As Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and AFN Regional Chief of AFN for Saskatchewan, he briefly addressed a crowd of 300 people attending the official commemoration ceremony of 115 years of Treaty No. 8. The ceremony and feast was hosted by Smith’s Landing First Nation in Fort Fitzgerald. “At the ceremony, Bellegarde spoke articulately about the need for more focus on restoration of pride among all First Nations in Canada and on self-determination. He also spoke about the meaning of real leadership,” said Erasmus.
Erasmus went on to say that Bellegarde will have an extra six months added to his three-year tenure because the former National Chief did not complete his term of office, this will give additional time to focus on nation building which will give relevance to its positions and directions and reflect the views and concerns as expressed in our communities. “We will encourage the new National Chief to work with us so our communities are able to enact and exercise their political rights which have been denied to them, even though we have treaties and agreements in place and are winning court cases,” said Erasmus.