FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde to Run for AFN Leadership

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), Chief Perry Bellegarde, announced his plans to run for the leadership of the Ottawa-based Assembly of First Nations (AFN), stressing that he wants to bring “transformational change.” Bellegarde would have been elected as AFN chief in 2009 if it was not for Shawn Atleo to get a record-eighth round of voting by delegates in Calgary. 52-year-old Bellegarde refrained from running again in the 2012 election, also won by Atleo.

Bellegarde mentioned in a press statement that “I am committed to being a catalyst for positive change for First Nations across Canada. I want to see aboriginal rights and title and our Treaty rights recognized, honoured and implemented.” He alleged that that treaties form the basis for the relationship between First Nations and the Crown in the regions that have them. During his 2009 campaign for AFN chief, Bellegarde alleged that he’d attempt to respect the traditions and wishes of the more than 600 First Nations across the country.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Bellegarde stressed that treaty implementation benefits everyone. He announced his candidacy at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, surrounded by supporters and said that “the Assembly of First Nations is at a pivotal point in its history,” and “AFN must be relevant, responsive and respectful because creating positive change for First Nations in our homes, at our jobs and with our families is essential. Our people need and deserve effective leadership that is based on extensive experience and an exceptional degree of focus. I am committed to delivering exactly that.”

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