First Nations from across Canada are gathering in Moncton, New Brunswick, this week, hosted by the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Nations, as representatives from 633 First Nations gather to discuss resource development and other aboriginal priorities, including education.
Starting on July 12, hundreds of First Nations chiefs, youth, elders, dignitaries and citizens will gather at the group’s National Assembly to strategize and create an action plan to address indigenous priorities under the theme “The Spirit of Peace and Friendship,” according to an AFN statement.
At the heart of the discussions will be aboriginals’ freedom of choice to say yay or nay when it comes to mining, oil and gas extraction, a freedom that has been bolstered by the signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the U.S. and Canada.
When they do say yes to development, said Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, Indigenous Peoples should be actively involved and/or receive a share of profits.
Among the speakers will be Ambassador David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, who will update attendees on international developments and relationships.
Preliminary events, including an AFN council and executive meetings, a half-marathon and a golf tournament, kicked off assembly events over the weekend, starting with a motorcycle ride on Saturday July 9.