Grand Chief Derek Nepinak looks back after being denied entry to a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, and other First Nation Chiefs in Ottawa this past January. Photo by Fred Chartrand/ The Canadian Press.
CBC reports, “Manitoba’s top aboriginal leader says it’s time to create an alternative to the Assembly of First Nations, which some say has become disconnected from the grassroots. Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says aboriginal leaders from Western Canada will meet this summer to talk about possibly launching a new aboriginal organization — one that is not funded by the federal government — that would replace the AFN in treaty negotiations.”
“Nepinak said the current First Nations system in Canada doesn’t work anymore, and the AFN seems to be more focused on self-preservation and less connected to the people it represents. Now is the time for a transformation in how First Nations organize and present themselves to federal and provincial governments, he said. …Officials with the Assembly of First Nations did not comment on Thursday, but its regional chief in Manitoba, Bill Traverse, agreed that the status quo is not working.”
“Nepinak made the remarks while launching the Treaty Freedom Caravan, a tour of 40 First Nations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to raise awareness of treaty rights.” The Grand Chief left Winnipeg yesterday morning for this 10-day tour by motorcycle.