Perry Bellegarde, former Grand Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, formally announced his candidacy for Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief on February 17. The announcement was made in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.

Should he be elected, Bellegarde said that he would be focusing on economic development and employment, education and graining, environment, fiscal arrangements between the federal crown and First Nations, and jurisdiction.

In a formal statement to the media about his candidacy, Bellegarde said, “I believe that this is our moment in time. The winds of change are blowing through North America and First Nations people understand what becomes possible when the winds change. We know not to merely stand in opposition, but to move swiftly into the flow and use its energy and direction to further our goals and aspirations. It is my intention as National Chief to ensure that First Nations people become the beneficiaries of the changes that promote self-determination, self-sufficiency and the honouring of our sacred traditions.”

The Assembly of First Nations will holding its election for a new Grand Chief on July 22 in Calgary, Alberta.

For more information on Bellegarde, visit his website.