The Chiefs of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians hosted an inaugural meeting with the newly elected National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on Wednesday.
“We are here to set our relationship off on a good track and to share critical priorities from our communities with the National Chief,” said AIAI Grand Chief Gord Peters in his opening remarks.
AIAI Chiefs used this meeting as an opportunity share specific concerns from their communities with the National Chief and to outline how they hope to continue working with the AFN moving forward. Key issues on the agenda included lands, treaties, environmental protections, economic stability for First Nations, and exercising Indigenous rights.
National Chief Bellegarde outlined his priorities for his term which included nation building, closing funding gaps for First Nations, murdered and missing Indigenous women, language revitalization and an increased presence for First Nations in international forums.
Referring specifically to the need to amplify the voices of First Nations on the International stage, National Chief Bellegarde commented that “Canada is downplaying UNDRIP [the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] and its responsibilities to Indigenous peoples.” The National Chief went on to add that Canada’s efforts to brand itself as leaders in human rights and international diplomacy, are an attempt to “look good in the international forums at our expense.”
In his closing remarks, the National Chief committed to working with federal political party leaders to gain commitments on First Nations priorities moving into the upcoming federal election.
AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on Twitter@AIAI_comms and on Facebook.
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