Perry Bellegarde was named AFN National Chief on December 10, 2014. He has spent his entire adult life putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate about making measureable progress on the issues that matter most to First Nations people, National Chief Bellegarde is a strong advocate for the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Widely known as a consensus builder with a track record of accomplishment, he brings community people, leaders, Chiefs and Elders together to focus on working cooperatively to move issues forward.
National Chief Bellegarde is from the Little Black Bear First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory. He served as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations. He has also served as the Tribal Chair of the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation and Chief of Little Black Bear First Nation.
Some of the projects that National Chief Bellegarde has facilitated on behalf of First Nations include:
- Negotiating the addition of 250 gaming machines to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) resulting in a pathway for the long-term financial stability of the FSIN
- Facilitating negotiations between the FSIN and the Province of Saskatchewan that resulted in the 25-year Gaming Agreement
- Leading Little Black Bear (LBB) First Nation out of 3rd party management within 8 months of being elected Chief
- Facilitating LBB’s re-qualification for CMHC housing after a 13-year period of no new housing
- A national multi-million dollar compensation package for First Nations veterans and their spouses
- The successful settlement of the specific claim resulting in the restoration of the Treaty lands in Fort Qu’Appelle to reserve status for Treaty Four First Nations
- The transfer of the Fort Qu’Appelle Indian Hospital to First Nations control, which resulted in the building of the multi-million dollar All Nations Healing Hospital
In 1984, Bellegarde became the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration. In March 2012, he graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.
National Chief Bellegarde’s candidacy for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations was based on a vision that includes establishing processes for self-determination; recognition of inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights; the revitalization and retention of indigenous languages; and establishing a new relationship with the Crown – one that removes the long-standing 2% cap on federal funding.
National Chief Bellegarde believes in upholding Indigenous rights as human rights and does so in international forums. Most recently, he spoke at the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous People in New York. He has called on the Prime Minister to launch an immediate inquiry and to develop a plan of action on Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
National Chief Bellegarde is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2012), Saskatchewan Medal (2005), Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2002) and Confederation Medal (1992). He has been honoured by several Chiefs and Elders who have acknowledged him as their adopted son. He honours them by carrying their teachings forward as he works diligently toward the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights, self-determination and a shared vision for the future.