Former National Grand Chief Phil Fontaine has been named as the new Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission. The appointment, announced August 29, had the full support of acting co-chairs Daniel Bellegarde and P.E. James Prentice. “We were originally appointed co-chairs on a temporary basis until a Chief Commissioner was named,” said Mr. Bellegarde. “Along with our colleagues, we have been calling for such an appointment for some time.”
Mr. Bellegarde and Mr. Prentice have resigned as co-chairs, but both will stay on as commissioners and will be available to help Mr. Fontaine through the transition period. The Indian Claims Commission, established in 1991, serves to examine specific claims rejected by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. It exists as a neutral entity, independent of both the federal government and First Nations.