(SASKATOON, SK)  In his campaign for the upcoming election for Assembly of First Nations National Chief,  candidate Chief Perry Bellegarde filed his nomination papers and presented his stance on First Nations Self-Determination in a press release today.

“I have focused my thoughts on this issue by asking one question – How do we, as First Nations leaders, create positive and concrete change for First Nations people at our jobs, in our homes and with our families?” Chief Bellegarde said in the release.

“Giving effect to the duty to consult and accommodate has been talked about long enough,” stated Chief Bellegarde. “It’s time for the Governments in Canada, to establish a mandated process which requires consultation and accommodation with First Nations interests on all resource projects in Canada. What we have now are undefined and inconsistent processes. We need a framework for all projects that includes indigenous peoples from project conception through to ongoing operations.  That creates certainty for everyone.”

Key to self-determination, Chief Bellegarde said, is recognizing the established inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations to greater control of our economic destiny.  For that to happen, Chief Bellegarde said First Nations need to be full partners in resource development from the onset.

“Resource revenue sharing has been talked about for years. Little has been accomplished”, said Chief Bellegarde. “It’s time to create a framework for projects across Canada, adopted at federal, provincial and territorial levels, which clarifies and defines First Nations participation in resource revenues. Again, that would be positive for everyone involved.  It would establish a common foundation of understanding about inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights between First Nations and the Crown based upon the sharing of resources. We need a systematic, defined process going forward, not the inconsistent and uncertain system we have today.”

“The protection of the environment will be assured with the above two steps in place. Our First Nations teachings and beliefs centre upon safeguarding the wellbeing of our lands and waters as we evaluate resource projects and other economic opportunities,” added Chief Bellegarde.

Chief Bellegarde concluded the release by saying, “Putting these mechanisms in place is a high priority for me. It will provide certainty in place of what are now completely inconsistent processes. And it will create a framework for First Nations sustainable economic development and self-determination. When First Nations people are fully involved in the economy, it means employment, wealth creation and addressing serious socio-economic gaps. That’s a win for all Canadians.”

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