(Former Roseau River First Nation chief Terry Nelson. APTN/File photo)
By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
OTTAWA–Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said Friday he’d work with Terry Nelson if the former Ojibway chief, who recently made headlines by courting Iran and forging ties to the Muslim community, becomes the next national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Nelson announced he was running for the top AFN job on Good Friday during a speech delivered to hundreds of Muslims in a Toronto-area mosque.
“We’ll work with whoever is democratically elected,” said Duncan, following an event that Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.
Nelson has said he wants First Nations to attract investments from foreign countries to end dependency on Ottawa dollars. The former Roseau River First Nations chief is currently working with the Iranian embassy in Ottawa to arrange a trip for several First Nations leaders to travel to Tehran and speak to Iran’s parliament.
Nelson said he’s hoping his entreaties to Iran will open doors to other OPEC oil cartel countries to find dollars for resource development projects in First Nations communities.
Duncan said he was aware of Nelson’s recent visit to a mosque by noting the former chief is free to campaign as he wishes.
“Chief Nelson can pre-campaign in any way he chooses and he is obviously doing that and he is getting some media attention,” said Duncan.
Nelson authored the 2007 National Day of Action resolution that led to the shutdown of Ontario’s busiest highway by Mohawks.
Current AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo is running for a second term.
Dene Chief Bill Erasmus is also contemplating a run for national chief.