(Photo courtesy Ben Powless)
APTN National News
TORONTO–First Nations chiefs are the most powerful people in the world, but fear holds them back, said Terry Nelson, one of the candidates running for national chief.
Nelson, a former five-term chief of Roseau River First Nation in Manitoba, quoting former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, told chiefs that the only thing they had to fear was “fear itself.” He told chiefs they shouldn’t fear the Conservative government, because Stephen Harper feared them.
“Stephen Harper is not the problem. We are,” said Nelson. “During the so-called Crown-First Nations gathering the chiefs were muzzled, Stephen Harper had a plane on the tarmac ready to take him away if we caused him any problems, he had RCMP with Uzis walking around. That is how scared Stephen Harper is of you. Why? Because, you are the owners of all the lands.”
Nelson is one of eight candidates vying for the position of national chief of the AFN. He was speaking during the candidate’s forum during the AFN gathering in Toronto where chiefs will vote for national chief on Wednesday.
Nelson said he believed “fear” was driving the AFN election.
Nelson told chiefs he knew how to deal with the Stephen Harper government which deposited $80 million into his bank account on his birthday on July 29, 2011, as part of a settlement after he threatened blockades in 2007.
Nelson said he would “reverse the budget cuts” if chiefs elected him national chief.
“I’ll guarantee that,” said Nelson. “Why, because you are the most powerful people in the world today, at this time in history, you are the most powerful people in the world.”
With photos of U.S. President Barack Obama bowing to and former U.S. president George W. Bush kissing Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Nelson said it was time for First Nations to take over their oil resources and demand the same respect.
“Treaty 8 people send 2.5 million barrels of oil a day to the (U.S.) side, the Cree and Dene are going to have to start up a new tradition to make sure George W. Bush kisses the right face if they want your oil,” said Nelson.
Nelson also called on chiefs to develop their own foreign policy, separate from that of the “immigrant government.” Nelson said, as national chief, he would travel to Iran to address the parliament in Tehran.
“I will go to Iran, I will speak in front of the Iranian parliament. If you are a nation, it’s time to break your ties to the immigrant government’s foreign policy,” said Nelson. “I will condemn your housing situation.”