Our traditional land is jeopardy says AFN candidate Stanley

first_img(Photo courtesy Ben Powless)APTN National NewsTORONTO–First Nations should assert control of natural resources on their traditional territories, says George Stanley, one of the candidates for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.Stanley, Alberta AFN regional chief from the Cree First Nation of Frog Lake, said First Nations should demand the Canadian government respect their jurisdiction over minerals, gas and oil found on their territory while keeping a balance protecting the environment.“Our inherent right to land comes first,” said Stanley. “Treaties are the result of this land to which we still claim ownership because treaties did not displace us. We must also claim jurisdiction over all minerals, the mighty rivers and bodies of water.”Stanley 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.Stanley said as national chief he would challenge the Conservative government over its unilaterally imposed changes to environmental regulations and legislation.“Our traditional land is in jeopardy, our people have already experienced clear-cutting, tar sands destruction of a once pristine environment,” he said.Stanley told chiefs that he understood their day to day struggle, the phone calls and tragedies that fill their days and nights.“I understand the community concerns that you go through, how many calls you receive on a weekly basis concerning housing problems, black mold and health issues,” said Atleo. “How many funerals have you attended in the recent past as a result of suicide, drug and alcohol violence or deal with missing and murdered women from your region?”Stanley also said he would fight for First Nations jurisdiction over gaming.“We have been denied full exercise and control of gaming in Canada. It’s about the exercise of our nationhood and sovereignty,” said Stanley. “Gaming should be a priority. The problem is Canada, the provinces and territories ignore our sovereignty and inherent rights.”last_img

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