Assembly of First Nations Supports Call for Meeting Between First Nations and Crown, Urges Continued Solidarity Among First Nations
December 18, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today reiterated the urgent need for the Prime Minister and Governor General of Canada to demonstrate respect and attention to the outstanding request for a meeting between First Nations and the Crown, and the priorities set by First Nations, including adequate and appropriate follow up on commitments made at Crown First Nations Gathering.
“Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike is an example of action for change that speaks to the overall frustration of First Nations across this country, and it deserves immediate and urgent attention,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “We must see a concrete commitment for a meeting between First Nations and the Crown to address priority areas for attention and advancement. First Nations stand together and united in calling for the Crown to honour its relationship and its responsibilities to First Nations.”
In a December 16, 2012 open letter to the Right Honourable Governor General David Johnston and the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, National Chief Atleo expressed concerns by First Nation leaders from across the country that have collectively raised their voices on the need to respect inherent rights and title and fully implement Treaties and other living documents, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the commitments made at the Crown-First Nations Gathering in January 2012.
Today marks day eight of a hunger strike by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence, who has been clear she wants to see a meeting between First Nation leaders and the Crown to discuss the full implementation of Treaty in ways that will address current challenges faced by First Nations, including housing, education, resource development, etc.
“The dire need to have a discussion on Treaty relationships for all First Nations people in Canada is now and not tomorrow,” said Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Spence from Victoria Island yesterday. “We will no longer be left out of any process that will affect our livelihood. To both levels of government, please honour the true spirit and intent of the Treaties in this country, not to forget the issues affecting our non-Treaty peoples.”
A number of First Nation leaders and other supporters have visited Chief Spence while she resides in a teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa, Ontario.