AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says First Nations Must Be Directly Involved in Any Policies or Legislation Affecting First Nations

Published: Jul 14, 2017News

July 14, 2017

(Ottawa) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde responded to the “Principles Respecting Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples” released today by the federal Minister of Justice, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould. 

“We all agree that federal officials are in need of guidance and direction so that federal policy and decision-making is based on recognition of our rights, instead of denial,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “But any statement of policy principles must be developed jointly, consistent with our rights and this government’s commitment to partnership. We will treat these principles as a first effort at dialogue with First Nations.” 

National Chief Bellegarde stated the principles will be reviewed closely by the AFN: “The Crown is obligated to ensure that laws and policies are consistent with our Treaty rights, inherent rights, title and jurisdiction, and standards set out under international law including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Ultimately, First Nations expect decisions and actions to be taken with us.” 

The AFN is currently undertaking a thorough review and analysis of the principles. 

The Justice Minister will be speaking to delegates at the AFN’s 38th Annual General Assembly in Regina, Saskatchewan July 25 – 27. The Justice Minister is expected to speak in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 25. More information is available on the AFN website at 


The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.



For more information, please contact: 

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected] 

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
[email protected]

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (cell)
[email protected]