This is a powerful moment. There is no going back.
Speaking to fellow Chiefs on Thursday night, an impassioned AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo made the following remarks:
"This is not something that we created as First Nations. It was thrust on us. The unilateral actions of others," Shawn Atleo.
"As I'm standing right here our spirit is not broken. Our spirit is strong. Our people are proud. Young people are leading the way. Chiefs we better make sure we follow the young people. They are not the leaders of tomorrow they are the leaders right now," Shawn Atleo.
Link to full video is below.
List of chiefs meeting with Prime Minister Harper: AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo; Nova Scotia-Nwfdl: Terry paul, Debora Robinson; NB: Roger Augustine, George Ginnish; Quebec: Ghislain Picard, Matthew Coon Come; Saskatchewan: Leo Omani, Norma Johnston, Marcel Head; BC: Jody Wilson-Raybould, Ed John, Doug White; Yukon: Mike Smith; Eric Fairclough; Alberta: Charles Weaselhead, Ronald Twinn; Mervin Yellowbird
Mathew Coon Come and other Quebec Chiefs have stated their support for AFN NCNational Chief Shawn Atleo and his willingness to go ahead with today's scheduled meeting with the Prime Minister. They have also received support from BC Chiefs.
The Chiefs from Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic have refused to attend the meeting.
There were efforts to try and change the agenda and secure the attendance for the entire meeting for both the Prime Minister and Governor General. The Prime Minister's Office refused any changes to the agenda and schedule.
AFN Chiefs gathered Thursday evening to discuss attending the proposed meeting between FN Chiefs and PM Harper.
Onion Lake Chief Wallace Fox voiced his support for Idle No More, Chief Theresa Spence and states why he will not be attending Friday's meeting. He asks for and receives support from many other Chiefs who stand behind Chief Fox.
AFN Regional Chief Perry Bellegarde from Saskatchewan also voiced his support and willingness to stand in solidarity in requesting that Friday's meeting receive full participation from Prime Minister Harper and Governor General David Johnston.
AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo stated that this country will be forever changed. "Our people's patience has simply run out - enough is enough!"
"This is the moment we will recapture the greatness of our heritage," he says.
Atleo then declared that while he and the AFN are "imperfect", that "we (Chiefs) need to stand up for all of our people and reflect back to Idle No More". Atleo then stated that he will attend Friday's meeting.
The meeting will be going ahead but without full representation: The Chiefs from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Atlantic region and the Dene Nation are all boycotting Friday's meeting with Harper tomorrow.
This is a substantial divide within the Assembly of First Nations. Is this divide temporary or will the AFN be forever changed?
Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases Statement on proposed meeting between the Prime Minister and First Nations leaders. Click on image to view actual size.
Video of Chief Wallace Fox's remarks:
Video of Chief Atleo's remarks:
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