News

Assembly of First Nations Supports Mother Earth Water Walkers in Their Journey Around the Great Lakes

on July 16, 2017

May 4, 2017 

(Ottawa, ON) –Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day issued the following statements today in support of Grandmother Josephine Mandamin and all those taking part in the 2017 Mother Earth Water Walk: 

“Grandmother Mandamin and all those walking with her remind us that water is the giver of life, and a sacred and precious gift. We honour her spirit and send our gratitude and prayers of support during this long journey. Her energy and endurance provide an inspiring example for all First Nations.”

National Chief Bellegarde

 

“On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, we wish a safe journey for Josephine, who is a true warrior and champion for our Peoples. Last year, the Province of Ontario recognized her tireless work at raising awareness with the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation. Josephine is not only walking for future generations, but as a living example of our 2008 Chiefs of Ontario Water Declaration.”

Regional Chief Day

On April 19, 2017, Grandmother Josephine Mandamin began her fourteenth annual Mother Earth Water Walk in Garden River, ON. The walk is a journey around the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Grandmother Mandamin and the walkers carry a copper vessel and Eagle Feather Staff to, in their words, “speak to the water spirits so that there will be healthy rivers, lakes and oceans for our ancestors and the generations to come.” The first annual Women’s Water Walk took place in 2003. The 2017 Mother Earth Water Walk is expected to end May 8, 2017 when the walkers return to Garden River.

You can get more information on the Mother Earth Water Walk and find ways to support the Walkers at:

www.motherearthwaterwalk.com

https://www.facebook.com/FortheEarthandWaterWalk2017FromWesttoEast/?fref=ts

 

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

 

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Media contact: 

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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jordyAssembly of First Nations Supports Mother Earth Water Walkers in Their Journey Around the Great Lakes

Assembly of First Nations National Chief on Canada’s Formal Removal of All Objections to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

on July 16, 2017

April 25, 2017 

(New York, NY):  Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is at the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, NY this week and issued the following statement on Canada’s formal removal of all objections to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: 

“Since the adoption of the UN Declaration 10 years ago, a great deal of work has been done and significant progress has been made in acknowledging the importance of Indigenous peoples rights as a human rights priority. This session of the UN Permanent Forum is especially notable because discussions here have potential to bring us a step closer to greater participation and recognition as Indigenous peoples in UN bodies, including the General Assembly. 

Yesterday, Canada made a significant statement by formally abandoning its 2014 statements on paragraphs 3 and 20 of the 2014 Outcome Document from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. In doing so, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs removed any lingering doubts respecting Canada’s position and put Canada formally on record as fully committed to the standard of free, prior and informed consent expressed in the UN Declaration. 

The next step is to work with Indigenous peoples to develop a National Action Plan for implementation as required by Canada’s international obligations – a plan and a process to establish joint decision-making on all matters that impact our rights. The international standard is free, prior, and informed consent. States should never undertake unilateral actions impacting our inherent rights, title and jurisdiction – nothing about us without us. 

We call on all States to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to develop the workplans and priorities for implementation. The adoption of the UN Declaration is a milestone in the history of advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. Let’s move forward together to life to these rights.” 

Today, National Chief Bellegarde will deliver a statement at the UN General Assembly Hall on behalf of a number of Indigenous peoples organizations and human rights non-governmental organizations. The agenda is still being confirmed but this is expected to happen this afternoon between 3 pm – 6 pm (all times local). For live video streaming of all open meetings go to http://webtv.un.org/ 

This afternoon, from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., AFN is co-hosting a special side event on the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The UN Declaration sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights to lands, territories and resources.  The Declaration is an essential framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

The 16th Session of the UNPFII’s special theme is “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration”.  

 

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

 

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For more information, please contact: 

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
Cell: 613-292-0857
agaron@afn.ca 

Don Kelly
AFN Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 200 or cell 613-292-2787
dkelly@afn.ca

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jordyAssembly of First Nations National Chief on Canada’s Formal Removal of All Objections to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Assembly of First Nations National Chief to Participate in United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

on July 16, 2017

April 24, 2017 

(Ottawa, ON):  Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will join the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, NY this week. He will be at UN headquarters Monday April 24 and Tuesday April 25 to mark the tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and will speak about the steps needed to advance its implementation. 

“The adoption of the UN Declaration is a milestone in the history of advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “It took almost 10 years for Canada to express its unqualified support for the Declaration. Now that we have this commitment, we must work together effectively as partners to realize those rights. The work we are doing as Indigenous peoples with the Government of Canada to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act is an example of how we can work together on essential, important work. This must be our approach to advance all our rights using the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as our framework for reconciliation.” 

On Tuesday April 25, National Chief Bellegarde will deliver a statement at the UN General Assembly Hall on behalf of the Coalition on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

On Tuesday afternoon from 1:15 – 2:45 PM, AFN is co-hosting a special side event on the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For details on this special side event please visit the AFN website at www.afn.ca

The UN Declaration sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights to our lands, territories and resources.  The Declaration is an essential framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  The Government of Canada gave its unqualified support to the UN Declaration on May 10th, 2016. 

The 16th Session of the UNPFII’s special theme is “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration”. For live video streaming of all open meetings visit http://webtv.un.org/

 

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

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For more information, please contact:

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
Cell: 613-292-0857
agaron@afn.ca

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jordyAssembly of First Nations National Chief to Participate in United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks Earth Day With a Message to the Planet: Time to Work Together to Heal Mother Earth

on July 16, 2017

April 21, 2017 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement in advance of Earth Day, which will be celebrated April 22: 

“Mother Earth is warming. She needs our help to heal so that we can all stay healthy and continue to enjoy the beauty and riches she provides. First Nations have both rights and responsibilities to the lands and waters. Our Indigenous worldview compels us to convey the message that we all must come together globally and work collectively to heal Mother Earth. We must act here in Canada, in the United States and around the world to protect our lands and waters, our traditional foods and sacred places, for future generations. First Nations are the first to feel the impacts of climate change. Our Traditional Knowledge is an important part of the solution to climate change. 

Finding the right balance is the key. We must move away from development that contributes to global warming and embrace clean, green energy solutions. First Nations in Canada are leading the way in alternative energy projects, which are now the largest single sectoral driver of First Nations’ economic development and independence. Respecting our rights, our peoples, our territories and our knowledge is key to healing Mother Earth.” 

Earth Day, founded in 1990, is celebrated every April 22.  It is the largest environmental event in the world.  The goal is to foster and celebrate environmental respect, action and behavior change that lessens our impact on the earth. This year, celebrations across the country are highlighting the great outdoors through Earth Day Canada’s Earth PLAY for Earth Day 2017: Connect to your nature! For more information visit: http://www.earthday.ca/

 

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

 

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For more information, please contact: 

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
Cell: 613-292-0857
agaron@afn.ca

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jordyAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks Earth Day With a Message to the Planet: Time to Work Together to Heal Mother Earth

National Chief Bulletin – Federal Budget 2017

on July 16, 2017

The Liberal government tabled its second federal budget on March 22. This Bulletin provides an initial assessment and analysis as well as a brief overview of the budget items of interest to First Nations. 

The budget allocates $3.4 billion for Indigenous peoples priorities over five years. This budget makes additional investments to help close the socio-economic gap for First Nations, on top of the $8.4 billion in Budget 2016 over five years. However, the key issue is that these investments must lead to real change on the ground in the very near future. First Nations have worked hard to secure key investments in the last two budgets. We know our families cannot wait. Change and results must happen faster and that means the system must move more quickly and efficiently. We must see continued investments to close the gap. We must ensure First Nations enjoy at least the same quality of life as other Canadians and we are fully exercising our rights. First Nations can help this government deliver results because we know better than anyone the needs and priorities for our peoples. We can work together to deliver those results, and we have to move now.

This budget continues key investments and support for First Nations in a number of areas including housing and infrastructure, education and training, policing, and health. The budget references the Prime Minister’s commitment from the AFN 2016 Special Chiefs Assembly to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act, and this budget commits significantly needed resources to enhance, support and archive Indigenous languages. These new investments are critical because language is directly connected to the health of our children and the health of our nations. We are the youngest and fastest growing population, representing tremendous opportunity and potential in a society that is aging. Investments in our people are investments in our shared future. 

We are attaching a summary of the investments and announcements, and also noting areas that require further analysis.  We will continue to keep you informed of developments across all these areas.

Government of Canada Budget 2017: Investments in Indigenous Issues
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AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde to Honour First Nations Veterans and all Veterans of Canada at the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

on July 16, 2017

April 7, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will be part of the official Canadian delegation that will travel to France to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 2017. First Nations veterans, Elders and Knowledge Keepers are also traveling to France to participate in the commemoration and other ceremonies. 

“I will be there on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations to honour all the brave First Nations veterans that served proudly and those who gave their life to protect their homelands,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “First Nations fought for this country alongside other Canadian soldiers even though they could not vote or enjoy the same rights as other Canadians, and were denied benefits by the Indian Affairs Branch of Veterans Affairs. Yet they served with distinction, and so many of our people continue to serve. We all owe them our deepest gratitude and respect.” 

While in Vimy, National Chief Bellegarde will take part in many official ceremonies and also traditional ceremonies to repatriate the spirits of forgotten and fallen soldiers buried in foreign lands. 

You can get more information on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2017, at: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/vimy-ridge/100-anniversary 

 

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

 

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Media contact: 

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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jordyAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde to Honour First Nations Veterans and all Veterans of Canada at the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says New Bank Note Honoring Senator James Gladstone Highlights First Nations Contributions as Nation Builders

on July 16, 2017

April 7, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today attended the unveiling of a new Bank of Canada $10 commemorative note that recognizes Senator James Gladstone, the first status Indian to be appointed to the Senate of Canada in January 1958.

AFN National Chief Bellegarde stated: “I lift up the Bank of Canada for honouring Senator Gladstone and highlighting the contributions of First Nations people as nation builders. Efforts like this help to educate all Canadians about our shared history, and education is important to achieving our goal of reconciliation. This is a year to dedicate ourselves to understanding our history and our original relationship of partnership and sharing. We must all commit ourselves to restoring it, so we can move forward together. Today, we remember Senator Gladstone’s accomplishments and his commitment to our people, and we join in celebration with his family and his nation.”

Senator James Gladstone, a member of the Blood Reserve in Alberta, was appointed to the Senate of Canada in January 1958. The commemorative bank note unveiled today also includes portraits of Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Agnes Macphail. This polymer $10 note will be in circulation by June 1, 2017.

 

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

 

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Media contact: 

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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jordyAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says New Bank Note Honoring Senator James Gladstone Highlights First Nations Contributions as Nation Builders

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks World Health Day by Celebrating the Strength and Resilience of First Nations

on July 16, 2017

April 7, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said that World Health Day, marked on April 7 with this year’s theme being “Depression”, is an opportunity to use this day to focus on life promotion and First Nations strengths and resilience. The time has come to end the stigma around mental health and focus on mental wellness.

“We are all on the journey to wellness together,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Today, reach out to a friend or family member and remind them how important they are to you. We need to support one another, and as First Nations we need to support our languages and cultures. A strong sense of identity is directly connected to better health. I urge anyone who feels they need help to talk to a friend, family, Elder or someone you trust and tell them how you feel. Depression affects many people and this can be your first step to healing and wellness.”

The National Chief noted that Indigenous experts speaking at the recent World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne, Australia, stated that strengthening Indigenous cultures would reduce suicide rates amongst Indigenous youth worldwide.

In Canada, First Nations experience significantly higher rates of mental health challenges than the general population. This disparity can be explained, in part, by unique contextual factors that influence mental health in those communities, such as the effects of colonialism and more difficult access to health services.

The 2008–2010 First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) found that approximately half of on-reserve First Nations experience moderate to high levels of psychological distress, a term used to measure an individual’s level of anxiety and depression. Comparatively, one third of the general population experiences similar levels of psychological distress.

World Health Day is a global health awareness day marked every year on April 7 under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization.

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

 

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Media contact:

 

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca  

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jordyAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks World Health Day by Celebrating the Strength and Resilience of First Nations
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