Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Ahnee-Boozhoo. Eyabay n'dizhinkaaz. Mukwa n'dodem.
Over the past few months, I have been approached by an overwhelming number of chiefs and citizens from across Canada to consider running for national leadership. Early in the new year, I went into the sweat lodge, asking for guidance from both the Spirit and our elders in ceremony to guide me to a decision. But nothing has touched me more, or has inspired me with vision, than the encouragement of our young people.
This announcement today is about a vision for a grass-roots movement spurred on by the youth and their call for unity, pride, and inspiration.
The youth have spoken about the need for action -- about their need for inclusion -- to ascend from despair, disregard and indifference -- to take their rightful place as holders of their own destiny. Above all, the youth expect fundamental change in how First Nations leaders take up their calling. With all that my spirit will muster, I accept that call in being their agent for change.
Today, alongside my leadership council, my campaign co-chairman Patrick Madahbee, Melanie Beaucage and Zack Beaudette, youth representatives from Nipissing First Nation, I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the office of National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
This election, that will take place in Calgary in July, will be a watershed moment and a choice between the status quo with a focus on reparations of the past; OR the choice for fundamental change and leadership into the future.
New AFN means transcending the current concept of what the AFN has been, and has meant for a long time. The organization sprang from the National Indian Brotherhood, and developed into an organization primarily responsible for political advocacy.
I am curious what Indigenous people think about such a new(?) focus for the AFN.