Child Welfare, Languages and Clean Water named top 3 priorities ahead of Federal Election

Tlicho Grand Chief George Mackenzie, Sahtu Grand Chief Junior McNeely, and Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya. (AFN Yukon Photo)

Alberta Regional AFN Chief Marlene Poitras has been assigned the numbered treaty file. She is also the first female regional chief for the wildrose province, elected by the 47 chiefs of Alberta, and sits on the special chiefs committee on Lands Territories and Resources, and works with National Chief Perry Bellegarde on International affairs.

“The AFN finalized and MOU with the federal government to identify priorites, and to also identify bills that are in the Senate and the House of Commons before the June recess,” Poitras told CKLB.

She also raised issues with the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy, and Specific Land Claims policy during her meetings with Prime Minsiter Trudeau, Crown Indigenous Minister Carolyn Bennett and newly appointed Indigenous Services Minsiter Seamus O’Regan.

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya who is also the AFN Regional Chief for the NWT also participated in those meetings this week in Ottawa.

“The way I look at this whole meeting with the Prime Minsiter is the commitment from his government signing onto the MOU with the AFN, and to work on First Nations priorities outlined not by just the AFN, but regional assemblies and from Chiefs and Councils across the country and the NWT before the writ is dropped next Fall,” said Yakeleya.

Minister O’Regan told the AFN and APTN news that legislation for Indigenous Children’s health and welfare will be introduced in the House of Commons when parliament resumes on January 28, 2019. O’Regan also said clean water for reserves and the Indigenous Languages Act are top priorities for him ahead of the October 2019 federal election.

Yakeleya says he stands in unity and supports the Akaitcho Treaty 8 leadership in their struggle to get a land-claim completed, and he also stands in unity and supports the Dehcho First Nations which includes Metis Councils in their goal to reach a land-claim as well.

Yakeleya is also working to unite the Dene not only in the NWT, Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, but also the distant relative Navajo peoples in the US as one Dene Nation.

Neither Poitras or Yakeleya would say if they had confidence in O’Regan. Neither offered comment on Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould being shuffled by Prime Minsiter Trudeau from Justice to Veteran Affairs.

But, in Wilson-Raybould’s home province of British Columbia, Union of BC Indian Chief’s President Stewart Phillip told media,

“I can tell you with great certainty this disappointing and disturbing decision on the part of the prime minister has reverberated across this country.”

Phillip told anchor Dennis Ward. “Our members in our communities, all of our members, held Jody Wilson-Raybould in high regard.


About the Author

Josh Campbell
Splash is back as the host of Denendeh Sunrise, CKLB's morning current affairs program. Campbell was mentored by longtime host and Gwich'in entertainer William Greenland. Josh, as he's known professionally by folks across the broadcast industry has worked for CBC North, CKRW the Rush in Yukon, and at CJCD Mix 100. Before moving north for his love of radio and Indigenous culture in 2007, Campbell graduated from Loyalist College's Broadcast Journalism Program in Belleville, Ontario the traditional territory of the Tyendinaga Mohawks. Campbell is proud of his Scottish and Irish ancestry. He was born and raised along the Tobique River the home of the Wolastoqiyik, Tobique Maliseet Nation.

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