News

Assembly of First Nations Offers Condolences to the family of Elder Tony Cote

on August 2, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today offered condolences to the family and friends of Elder Tony Cote, a highly respected veteran, Knowledge Keeper, First Nations advocate and past Chief of Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan.

“On behalf of the AFN Executive Committee, we offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Tony Cote, the citizens of Cote First Nation and all those who knew and worked with him throughout the years” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “Elder Cote will be remembered as a well-respected leader and advocate for First Nations rights and for First Nations veterans, a man who dedicated his life to ensuring all First Nations youth had the best opportunities to advance and participate in sports and recreation.  Tony was instrumental in organizing the Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games. In a tribute to his work and achievements, they were renamed in his honour in 2017 as the Tony Cote First Nations Summer Games and the Tony Cote First Nations Winter Games.  He encouraged First Nations youth to come together and to work hard to achieve their goals.  We lift him up and offer our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones.”

Elder Tony Cote passed away at the age of 84 on July 31, 2019. Cote was a survivor of the St. Phillips Residential School and at 17 joined the Canadian Armed forces.  He was elected Chief of the Cote First Nation and served two terms.

Memorial services for Elder Tony Cote will be held on Sunday, August 4, 2019 and the funeral will be held in Cote First Nation at 10 a.m. Monday, August 5, 2019.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.  Follow the #AFNSCA on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact: 

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (Cell)
[email protected]

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Sid LeeAssembly of First Nations Offers Condolences to the family of Elder Tony Cote

First Nations Leaders and Delegates from Across the Country Gather for the AFN Annual General Assembly July 23-25, 2019 in Fredericton, NB

on July 19, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Hundreds of First Nations Chiefs, leaders, Elders and youth are set to gather July 23-25, 2019 for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) taking place at the Fredericton Convention Center on unceded Wəlastəkewiyik (Maliseet) territory in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  Chiefs and delegates will gather under the theme “Celebrating our Successes and Giving Thanks” to assess progress, set priorities and strategic direction for the coming year.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde will deliver his Opening Address on the first day, July 23, at approximately 9:30 a.m. St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Alan Polchies and AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine will also address the Assembly on opening day, as well as New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, the provincial Minister of Indigenous Relations, Jake Stewart, the Mayor of Fredericton, Michael O’Brien, and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett.

The AGA will feature discussion and decision-making on key priorities for First Nations. The AGA will include honouring ceremonies for Autumn Peltier, the former Chair of the AFN Women’s Council Denise Stonefish, First Nations veteran Phillip Favel and others.

Delegates will hear from federal representatives including Green Party leader Elizabeth May, NDP representative MP Guy Caron, Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Gary Anandasangaree.

The provisional agenda and updates are available on the AFN website at https://www.afn.ca/2019-annual-general-assembly/.

The AGA will be webcast on the AFN website at https://livestream.com/afn/2019aga.

 

Media accreditation is required and media are encouraged to register in advance through the contacts listed below.

 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.  Follow the #AFNSCA on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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Contact information:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (Cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

 

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Roy WhiteduckFirst Nations Leaders and Delegates from Across the Country Gather for the AFN Annual General Assembly July 23-25, 2019 in Fredericton, NB

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Welcomes New Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty

on July 17, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) –Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty who was appointed as the representative of the Crown in Saskatchewan by Prime Minister Trudeau today.

“I offer congratulations to His Honour Russell Mirasty and welcome him as the Crown’s representative in my home region of Saskatchewan,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “I’ve said many times we need more First Nations people in positions of authority and honour. First Nations have a long-standing and unique relationship with the Crown, as embraced in our Treaties.  We know Mr. Mirasty will bring a unique perspective to his new role, and we know he will serve all the people of Saskatchewan. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position of Lieutenant Governor and is a positive example of the success that everyone can aspire to.”

Mr. Mirasty, whose first language is Cree, is a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.  He served a 36-year career in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in various roles across the country, including as Director General of National Aboriginal Policing Services and as Commanding Officer of “F” Division (Saskatchewan).  He was the first Indigenous person to command a division of the national police force. In his retirement, Mr. Mirasty worked to improve the education system in Saskatchewan, serving as a member of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents, and as a board member on the Community Safety Knowledge Alliance. He was also appointed to Saskatchewan’s Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2017.

Lieutenant Governors are the personal representatives of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada in their respective provinces.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations National Chief Welcomes New Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty

Assembly of First Nations Bulletin – 2019 AFN Annual General Assembly

on July 16, 2019

AFN Annual General Assembly
Fredericton, NB – July 23-25, 2019

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is looking forward to hosting its 40th Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Fredericton, New Brunswick from July 23 to 25, 2019 under the theme of “Celebrating our Successes and Giving Thanks”.

The AFN believes it is important to convene our Annual General Assemblies in the many different traditional territories of our diverse nations, and to experience their hospitality, traditions and ceremonies. This does mean we need to be flexible and adaptable in using local facilities. The AFN has been working closely with the Host Nation and Host Region to ensure the necessary requirements are in place for the AGA.

We are currently working with the Fredericton Convention Centre to maximize the number of delegates we can accommodate in the main plenary room. There are capacity limitations due to the size of the facility, AFN’s technical needs, and health, fire and safety regulations. We will prioritize space to accommodate Chiefs and Proxies as they are required to address discussion on resolutions throughout AGA. We will ensure there is space in the main plenary as well for all Elders, Veterans, Tri-Council members, Grand Chiefs and AFN staff.

Delegates and observers wearing black lanyards will be accommodated at the theatre adjacent to the Convention Centre where the AGA proceedings will be broadcast live. For those not attending the AGA, there is a live webcast of the AGA which can be viewed on our website at www.afn.ca

We appreciate your understanding on this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Joyce McDougall at [email protected]

We look forward to a successful AGA in Fredericton.

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Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Bulletin – 2019 AFN Annual General Assembly

AFN Update on First Nations Post-Secondary Education – July 2019 AFN BULLETIN

on July 11, 2019

Update on First Nations Post-Secondary Education

The work and progress in the area of First Nations post-secondary education (PSE) is guided by direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly and the long-standing goal of achieving First Nations control of First Nations Education. First Nations control of First Nations Education means respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. It means First Nations education systems designed by First Nations, under First Nations control and supported by direct transfers from the Federal Government.

Consistent with a number of national resolutions, most recently Assembly of First Nations (AFN) resolution 48/2018, First Nations Post-Secondary Education Policy Proposal, the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE), National Indian Education Council (NIEC) and the AFN submitted a policy proposal to the Cabinet of Canada that recommended a new way forward for First Nations PSE whereby the jurisdiction would remain with the First Nations.

Prior to that submission, Budget 2019 allocated $327 million dollars over five years to First Nations for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. This falls far short of the $1.7 billion required to close the gap in post-secondary education.

On June 18, 2019, the AFN was informed that the First Nations Post-Secondary Policy Proposal was approved by the federal cabinet. While the approval did not increase the investments in Budget 2019, it confirmed support for First Nations-led Treaty-based and/or regional based processes to develop models that will best support First Nations PSE. Alongside the approval of Treaty and/or regional based PSE models, Budget 2019 provided $7.5 Million over three years to support First Nations in exploratory discussions, engagement, partnership tables and model design with their members. First Nations will begin to transition from current restrictions in PSE to more holistic approaches that support the unique needs of every Nation.

First Nations can now begin the important and essential work of designing their own approaches to PSE.

In addition to significant changes in First Nations PSE models, further amendments to programs and policies include:

  • Residency Clause: Eligible recipients for PSE funding were previously subject to restrictions that included mandatory Canadian residency. New changes amend and broaden eligible recipients to Band Councils, organizations designated by Band Councils, and self-governing First Nations in the Yukon.
  • Post-Secondary Partnerships Program: Eligible recipients previously included mainstream institutions that were receiving First Nations funding. New changes amend eligible recipients exclusively to include Band Councils, organizations designated by Band Councils, community based regional bodies and the First Nations University of Canada.
  • Eligible Expenditures: The previous conditions contained overly prescriptive language around eligible expenditures in all First Nations PSE programs. New changes amend the prescriptive language and broaden expenditures to allow more flexibility for what each First Nation considers an appropriate expenditure.

While the AFN continues to advocate for Post-Secondary Education to be funded as a Treaty and inherent right, based on the needs of all First Nations post-secondary students, amendments to policies and programs that support First Nations Control of First Nations Education are a welcome change.

We will continue to advocate and prioritize First Nations jurisdiction in education that is reflective of our Treaty and inherent rights. If you would like more information please contact the AFN Director of Education, Janice Ciavaglia, at 613-241-6789 ext. 206 or by email at [email protected]

Hiy Hiy, ekosi

Regional Chief Bobby Cameron, AFN
Chief – Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations
Witcheken First Nation, Treaty No. 6 Territory

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Roy WhiteduckAFN Update on First Nations Post-Secondary Education – July 2019 AFN BULLETIN

First Nations Children Most Impoverished in Canada: Report

on July 9, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – While premiers and territorial leaders meet in Saskatchewan today to discuss the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families, a new report released today co-authored by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) says First Nations children experience the highest levels of poverty in Canada.

“Canada is not tracking First Nations poverty on-reserve so we did,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “The findings of this report are shameful and underscore the urgent need to invest in First Nations children, families and communities. Our children face the worst social and economic conditions in the country. They deserve an opportunity to succeed. Canada has not been tracking poverty on-reserve and that’s one reason the situation is not improving. We need a combination of political will, action, cooperation among governments and sustainable investments in water, infrastructure, housing and education to help First Nations children succeed and get a fair start in life. It’s beneficial to all Canadians to close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”

Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada, developed in partnership by the AFN, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and published by Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society, finds that half of all First Nations children on-reserve live in poverty, with even higher numbers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Children on reserve are four times more likely than non-Indigenous children in Canada to live in poverty and experience some of the worst social and economic conditions, causing negative effects on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The report tracks child poverty rates using the 2006 Census, the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2016 Census.

National Chief Bellegarde is meeting with premiers and territorial leaders today in Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan to instill in leaders the importance of working together with First Nations to urgently address long-standing barriers to closing the gap.  This includes working collaboratively to implement recently passed federal legislation focused on First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare. The meeting, hosted by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, is focused on the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families and takes place in advance of the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon Wednesday.

 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor, Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Trish Hennessy
Executive Director, Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society
416-525-4927
[email protected]

Hyperlink: http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Upstream_report_final_English_June-24-2019.pdf

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Roy WhiteduckFirst Nations Children Most Impoverished in Canada: Report

Assembly of First Nations National Chief to Meet with Premiers and Territorial Leaders on Implementation of New Legislation Supporting First Nations Children and Families

on July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will attend a meeting tomorrow with Premiers, territorial leaders and Indigenous representatives in Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan.  This meeting is focused on the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families and takes place in advance of the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon on Wednesday.

“I’m attending tomorrow’s roundtable discussion to ensure First Nations are involved in any discussions and decisions regarding our most valued, our children and families,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “This is the first meeting of premiers and territorial leaders since the passing of new federal legislation that’s essential to the well-being of our children. This requires support, cooperation and coordination between all governments and First Nations to ensure respect and safety of our children. No child can be overlooked or left behind. I am seeking a commitment from all provinces and territories for this important work.”

National Chief Bellegarde has consistently called for First Nations and AFN involvement at all federal, provincial and territorial meetings, the Council of the Federation and other inter-governmental forums.

“First Nations must be at every decision-making table on issues and priorities that impact our people, our nations and territories,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “We are seeing more and more the proof that meaningful inclusion and collaboration with First Nation is constructive and productive and leads to better decisions and better results for our people and all of Canada.  This is the only way to ensure our rights, title and jurisdiction are respected, and that decisions actually have positive impacts on the ground.”

Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families received Royal Assent June 21, 2019.  The legislation focuses on First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare and supports First Nations governments in developing their own systems for First Nations child welfare. It was developed with input from First Nations.

During a meeting with premiers and territorial leaders in July 2016, National Chief Bellegarde received a commitment from all provinces and territories to work with First Nations in their regions on new approaches to First Nations child and family services that emphasizes prevention instead of apprehension.  This included supporting solutions and systems designed and driven by First Nations and an agreement to work with First Nations on new approaches to reduce the number of First Nations children in care and to ensure results are tangible and measurable.

 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected] 

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations National Chief to Meet with Premiers and Territorial Leaders on Implementation of New Legislation Supporting First Nations Children and Families

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says Newly Passed Legislation will Help Build Stronger and Healthier First Nations

on June 20, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today welcomes the passing of two new pieces of federal legislation passed in the House of Commons today. The Indigenous Languages Act, Bill C-91 and An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, Bill C-92 are expected to receive Royal Assent in the Senate tomorrow, on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

“Today we have made history and arrive at a turning point in our work to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen our languages,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Language is life and central to our identities and cultures. We know that when states uphold Indigenous languages their likelihood of survival increases. This is why we pushed for The Indigenous Languages Act, and it’s why I’m so proud we now have the federal government’s full support for this work. Today we celebrate the work of our language champions who worked with Canada to create this legislation that will help ensure our children grow strong in their language and stronger in life, confident and proud in their identities and connected to their nations. This is an example of reconciliation in action and a meaningful way to mark 2019, the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.”

On February 5, 2019, Bill C-91, an Act respecting Indigenous languages, was tabled in the House of Commons with the objective to protect, promote, revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages in Canada. The initiative to co-develop legislation with the AFN and other national Indigenous organizations was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau at an AFN Assembly in December 2016.

Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, was introduced in the House of Commons in February 2019. It was developed with direction from AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly and input by the AFN legislative working group which is comprised of technicians and experts from across the country drawing on years of advocacy and direction.

“Bill C-92 puts First Nations children first and is a major step in the right direction to address decades of failures that resulted in far too many of our children being torn from their families,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The goal with this legislation is to apply laws, policies and values to systems designed and implemented by First Nations for First Nations with the focus on providing every opportunity for our children to grow up feeling valued and connected to their families, cultures and nations. No one piece of legislation will fix the drastic and long-lasting impacts of a broken system, but with First Nations jurisdiction paramount we have a solid base for change. I urge all provinces and territories to work directly with First Nations on the implementation of this legislation.”

The Act to Respect First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families affirms First Nations jurisdiction and creates space for First Nations laws and practices regarding their families. It respects rights in the context of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is the minimum international standard for the survival and dignity of Indigenous peoples. It sets out key principles that will prevent children from being removed from their homes unnecessarily, promotes children staying in their communities and nations and ensures the best interests of the child principle is understood and applied with a First Nations lens for our children and families.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (mobile)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Sid LeeAFN National Chief Bellegarde Says Newly Passed Legislation will Help Build Stronger and Healthier First Nations

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Statement on River Run 2019 – Walk with Grassy Narrows for Mercury Justice

on June 19, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today provided the below statement in support of justice for Grassy Narrows Fist Nation.

“The Assembly of First Nations supports Chief Rudy Turtle and Grassy Narrows First Nationin their calls for action to address long-standing dangers to the health and well-being of community members as a result of mercury contamination in their territory,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “I continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to work directly with the people of Grassy Narrows on an action plan with tangible solutions to the impacts of mercury poisoning. The people of Grassy Narrows have been dealing with mercury poisoning for more than 40 years. The situation has claimed lives, disrupted families and has hurt the entire nation. Justice is long overdue. It is time for concrete action so the people of Grassy Narrows can rebuild their ways of life, livelihood and nation.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Senior Communications Advisor
613-241-6789, ext. 201
613-314-8157 mobile
[email protected]

 

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Sid LeeAFN National Chief Bellegarde Statement on River Run 2019 – Walk with Grassy Narrows for Mercury Justice

First Nations Will Ensure Their Rights, Title and Jurisdiction Are Respected in TransMountain Expansion Project – AFN National Chief Bellegarde

on June 19, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – Following the federal government’s decision today on the TransMountain pipeline expansion project, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says First Nations will ensure their rights, title and jurisdiction are respected and the federal government must respect these rights.

“First Nations are not mere stakeholders. We are the rights and title holders and our rights, title and jurisdiction must be respected,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “It’s clear First Nations have different positions on this project but they all stand firm that their rights be respected and their traditional territories be protected. Only First Nations can determine if those conditions are met. The government needs to engage fully with First Nations – to uphold rights and for the basis of good business. This entire situation is an important reminder why the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and free, prior and informed consent is the way forward. It’s the way we avoid conflict, lengthy and costly court cases. It’s how we create peaceful approaches and economic certainty for everyone.”

The Government of Canada originally approved the TransMountain pipeline expansion project in November 2016. In July 2018, the Federal Court ruled the Government of Canada must consult with Indigenous peoples and groups and conduct a marine-related environmental assessment. At the same time, The National Energy Board was instructed to reassess the project, including the impact of increased oil tanker traffic. The Government of Canada purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion in May 2018.

The Government of Canada committed to implementing the UN Declaration in 2010. The UN Declaration implementation act, Bill C-262, is currently in the Senate and is central to honouring that promise. National Chief Bellegarde, among others, have been urging this bill is passed before the end of the current parliamentary session to give life to the Declaration and to further enforce free, prior and informed consent as the basic standard of approaches to development.

“Implementing and enforcing free, prior and informed consent will ensure that governments, business and First Nations are onboard and onside before any development begins,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Implementing this basic international standard should not delay development. It’s a way forward and a way to better ensure economic certainty. Avoiding it actually creates economic instability for the country.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jenna Young Castro, Senior Communications Advisor – Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201, 613-314-8157 (mobile) or [email protected] 

Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer – Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (mobile) or [email protected]

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Sid LeeFirst Nations Will Ensure Their Rights, Title and Jurisdiction Are Respected in TransMountain Expansion Project – AFN National Chief Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
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