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From issue: Memos to the President Elect (Fall 2008)

AQ Feature

Protect the Lives and Rights Of Indigenous People

Phil Fontaine

"I encourage you to use the traditional knowledge of our peoples to protect our environment."

Congratulations on your victory. I offer you our traditional best wishes for a good heart, good mind and good thoughts as you assume your new responsibilities.

I write to you as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the national organization representing First Nations in Canada. Canada is home to more than 800,000 First Nations citizens, also known as North American Indians or Native Canadians. Our people live in all parts of the country. More than half—58 percent—live on 633 Indian reserves and the rest live in towns and cities throughout Canada.

As President-elect, the most crucial item on your agenda is clear: endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…

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