Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks World Environment Day

Published: Jul 16, 2017News

June 5, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today marked World Environment Day, reminding everyone of the contributions First Nations have made and continue to make as stewards of the land and the need for First Nations to be involved in all efforts to protect, sustain and respect the environment. 

“World Environment Day is an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to protect Mother Earth and our waters,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Our planet is in crisis. As we move away from a carbon economy and towards cleaner, greener energy, all discussions about the environment nationally and internationally must respect and uphold our rights, and recognize our traditional knowledge. We look forward to bringing our experience and knowledge to the COP 23 meeting in Germany later this year. For First Nations, every day is environment day.”

AFN continues to play a leadership role on the environment and meets regularly with federal officials and international organizations, as well as ensuring First Nations have a voice in discussions, planning and implementation on environmental matters. The AFN Elders Council and the AFN’s Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment (ACCAE) met last week with the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Catherine McKenna, and senior federal officials to discuss the environmental and regulatory reviews.

AFN NWT Regional Chief Bill Erasmus, Co-Chair of the ACCAE said, “Any approach to environment and climate change must respect First Nations treaties, title and jurisdiction and recognize our responsibilities to our territories. We are closest to the land and we are the first to feel the impacts of climate change. Canada has given its unqualified support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that must inform all decisions and activities, particularly given what is happening south of our border.”

World Environment Day, a global celebration of nature, is observed each year on June 5. This year’s theme is “Connecting people to nature”.

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


For more information, please contact:  

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

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

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