Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

March 18, 2005 19:48 ET

Assembly of First Nations Hosts Groundbreaking Leadership Assembly

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MUSQUEAM TERRITORY/RICHMOND, BC--(CCNMatthews - March 18, 2005) - For the first time since the early 1970s', First Nations from every corner of BC, from every political faction in the province stood together and committed to work together in unity to ensure that their rights and title are recognized and accommodated in British Columbia.

Meeting host, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Shawn Atleo said, 'It is only through our unity and collective commitment to working together that we will have the strength and influence to overcome the many challenges our people face and to regain our rightful place and authority as the First peoples of this land. "

In a powerful traditional ceremony conducted by elders of the Musqueam and Squamish Nations, more than 170 Chiefs and leaders witnessed the signing of a political accord committing the long divided First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC office of the Assembly of First Nations to working together on specific actions items. The first priorities are to ensure that the provincial and federal governments truly recognize and respect aboriginal title and rights including self-government and are committed to a meaningful process of consultation and accommodation that has been developed jointly with First Nations.

" Today is of incredible historic significance, we will no longer sit back and wait for government(s) to describe to us how they will respond to the decisions of the legal actions we have been forced into. We will work with them to define processes that will prevent infringement upon infringement. If we cannot move forward in a way that acknowledges and protects our interests together we will take action to protect our lands, resources and cultures for future generations," said Chief Stewart Philip.

First Nations Summit task group member Chief Doug Kelly stated, "By focussing on the issue of the unresolved land question and the inherent right to self government, our differences will not divide us but ensure that the solutions we develop are complete and fully responsive to the diverse interests of our many Nations." /For further information: Vice-Chief Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations (BC Region) (604) 220-5822; Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (250) 490-5314; Chief Doug Kelly, First Nations Summit (778) 772-8153; / IN: ECONOMY, FORESTRY, JUSTICE, MINING, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Rhonda DesRosiers, BCAFN Executive Assistant, Assembly of First Nations (BC Region)
    Primary Phone: 604-992-4201
    Secondary Phone: 604-922-7733