June 19, 2009 23:59 ET

Perry Bellegarde in Montreal to support AFNQL's declaration on a First Nations Sovereignty Affirmation Process - "Governments cannot constantly scorn the Ancestral and Territorial Rights of the First Nations" - Perry Bellegarde, candidate for National Chief of the AFN

MONTREAL, June 19 - Perry Bellegarde, candidate for National
Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, is in Montreal today participating at
the First Peoples' Festival where he announced his intention to support the
Declaration on a First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sovereignty Affirmation
Process, which was adopted by the AFNQL November 27, 2008.
"This Declaration reminds us that First Nations are peoples who possess
the right to self determination as recognized by International Law,
particularly by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples. Governments cannot constantly scorn through their policies and
practices the ancestral and territorial rights of the First Nations. As
National Chief it will be my duty to work with all First Nations in developing
specific, tangible strategies that ensure economic self sufficiency, which I
believe is inextricably linked to self determination. I commend the AFNQL in
its efforts to create a viable model." said Mr. Bellegarde.
This is a second visit for Mr. Bellegarde to Quebec over the last two
weeks, a clear statement of the importance he gives to the First Nations of
Quebec and Labrador in the future of the Assembly of First Nations. Mr.
Bellegarde also took the opportunity of the First Peoples' Festival forum to
underline the significance and the fragility of First Nations' cultures and
languages. "Forty years ago, there was an urgent need to preserve First
Nations languages; now there is an emergency with only 2 out of 58 First
Nations languages predicted to survive. The Government of Canada must come to
understand that taking meaningful action regarding First Nations language
revitalization is consistent with the Apology of June 2008 and the spirit of
Candidate Bellegarde has in his meetings with First Nation peoples made a
commitment to using all the resources available to him as National Chief to
develop long term solutions for the revitalization and preservation of First
Nations cultures and languages. In that challenge, the actions taken by the
Chiefs of the ANFQL are a powerful stimulus.

Contact Information

  • Valerie Galley, (613) 293-4806 (cellphone)