Communiqué from National Chief Shawn Atleo - January 7, 2013

First Nation - Crown Relationship - Meetings this Month

Further to the January 4, 2013 agreement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with a delegation of First Nation leaders in Ottawa on January 11, 2013, the Assembly of First Nations National Executive Committee immediately began coordination efforts, and is pleased to offer this update.  

In preparation for the January 11 meeting between First Nation leaders and the Prime Minister, the Assembly of First Nations will host strategy and planning meetings of Treaty and comprehensive claims / inherent rights working groups that will be open to all First Nation leaders.  These meetings will take place on Tuesday January 8 in Ottawa. Many political territorial and regional organizations will also host caucus sessions and planning meetings this week, and we will do our best to keep you updated on scheduling and to share this information.  

On Wednesday January 9 and Thursday January 10 the Assembly of First Nations will host special preparations, which will include ceremony and other forums to engage First Nation leaders and citizens in dialogue and discussion.  While details continue to be finalized, we encourage everyone to monitor our web site at www.afn.ca and social networks for regular updates.  

The January 11 meeting between First Nation leaders and the Prime Minister is not a gathering or summit, rather a focused working meeting that must lead to a tangible plan for change. We all know that the hard work of First Nations does not start or end with one meeting, and that one meeting will not produce immediate results; however First Nation leaders will seek clear and concrete commitments to advancing existing priorities and ongoing work.  This includes the implementation of Treaties on a Treaty by Treaty basis, respect for the nation-to-nation relationship, First Nations inherent rights, title and the responsibilities of First Nations to the lands and resources.  Grounded firmly in our rights, we must achieve fair, sustainable financial relations and First Nation driven solutions on key priorities including ensuring safety, security and opportunity for all First Nation citizens.

As you know, on January 1, the Assembly of First Nations National Executive invited the Prime Minister and Governor General to a Treaty meeting.  This meeting will continue as planned and as led by Treaty leaders.

Further to my letter to all Chiefs December 29, 2012, it is absolutely clear that our solutions must be grounded in our homes and in our territories, reflective of our rights and sacred responsibilities.  We continue to encourage community and community level engagement of all citizens in order to determine priorities and strategies reflective of the unique challenges and circumstances of each Nation.  The regional, Treaty and national organizations continue to stand with you and are prepared to support these strategies and approaches as set by each Nation.  This is our role and our way – supporting and backing community-driven solutions that come from our rights, responsibilities and our peoples.

We are stronger together and we will achieve success by standing firmly on our rights and our responsibilities and continuing all efforts to drive change now!

I look forward to continuing to support the hard work of First Nations in advancing priority areas to achieve the fundamental change we deserve and need for all our peoples.

Kleco, kleco. 

Assembly of First Nations