Longtime chief Reginald Bellerose wants to bring experience to AFN’s top job

‘The chiefs of Canada need to come together now,’ says the candidate from Saskatchewan

After 17 consecutive years as chief of Muskowekwan First Nation, Reginald Bellerose believes the time is right to run for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Bellerose, who says “it’s tough being a band leader” with limited resources, wants to bring his experience and knowledge to the office of national chief.

At the top of the list of Bellerose’s campaign priorities are rights and jurisdiction.

“Rights are being infringed upon, and we need to take a stand. And Ottawa needs to stop transferring authority, jurisdiction, and resources to the provincial governments without our consent,” says Bellerose.

Among the former chief’s other priorities are economic sovereignty and health and wellness.

Bellerose says, in light of the continued findings of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools, there is a need for long-term community healing and supports.

“The chiefs of Canada need to come together now,” he says.

Muskowekwan is a Saulteaux First Nation situated 140 km northeast of Regina.

Bellerose is the only candidate from Saskatchewan and has the endorsement of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

The province fields about 70 votes in the convention-style election.

The race for the national chief of the AFN is nearing the finish line.

Seven candidates are running to replace Perry Bellegarde after he announced he would not be seeking a third term.

Three of them hail from the Prairies. This year’s slate also includes two candidates from Ontario and one from Quebec.

The vote for the next national chief will take place virtually on July 7.

Roughly, 630 chiefs and proxies will elect the next national chief.

The winner must get 60 per cent of ballots cast.

APTN News will be interviewing the seven candidates in the run-up to the July election which will be held virtually.

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