National Chief Perry Bellegarde
First Nation leaders from across Canada gathered at the Special Chiefs Assembly in December and elected former Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). He was elected on the first ballot with 63% of the vote.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde will serve a three-and-a-half year term as mandated by resolution by Chiefs-in-Assembly at the 2014 Annual General Assembly.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde Acceptance Speech
December 10, 2014
To the people of Canada, I say to you that the values of fairness and tolerance which Canada exports to the world is a lie when it comes our people.
Today we stand in the shadow of our great leaders who have passed into the spirit world.
I vow to you and to them, that I will fight for the teachings that unite us all.
Today we renew the sacred vows of our ancestors to protect the LAND, and protect our CHILDREN, WOMEN and COMMUNITIES.
TO CANADA we say, for too long have we been dispossessed of our homelands and the wealth of our rightful inheritance.
Canada will no longer develop pipelines, transmission lines or any infrastructure on our lands as business as usual.
First Nations peoples will oppose any development which deprives our children of the legacy of our ancestors.
We will no longer accept poverty and hopelessness while resource companies and governments grow fat off our lands.
If our lands are to be developed, it will be done ONLY with our fair share of royalties, ownership of the resources and jobs for our people. It will be done on our terms and on our timeline.
Our teachings leave us no choice but to stay true to this path and this work.
Canada is Indian land. This is my truth. This is the truth of our peoples.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde is from the Little Black Bear First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory. Previously serving as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, he has also been the Tribal Chair of the Touchwood- File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation and Chief of LBBFN.
In 1984, Perry became the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration. In March 2012, he graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.
Perry Bellegarde has spent his entire adult life putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years.
National Chief Bellegarde is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2012), Saskatchewan Medal (2005), Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2002) and Confederation Medal (1992).