FSIN ready to move ahead with re-elected Atleo
First Nations Chiefs from Saskatchewan cast ballots in Toronto Wednesday along with hundreds of chiefs from around the country to re-elect Shawn Atleo as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
It took three ballots of voting for Atleo to beat out eight other candidates and win another three years in the position.
Critics of Atleo have said he was too soft in his relationship with Ottawa during his last term.
Morley Watson, vice-chief with the Saskatchewan Federation of Indian Nations, said a mutually respectful relationship with the federal government is something they are supportive of.
“For the first time in a long time we met with the Prime Minister of Canada and we want to build on that. We not only want to meet the Prime Minister, we want to meet the Governor General also,” said Watson.
He said the criticism of Atleo is not something new to his ears.
“People say sometimes leaders cozy up to government too much but you know we’ve heard that for the last two or three Assembly of First Nations leaders,” said Watson.
Still Watson stopped short of saying whether Atleo was the FSIN’s choice candidate saying instead that that judgment is up to each chief who voted.
“At the end of the day Saskatchewan chiefs voted for who they felt could best do the job and right now it’s the federation’s job to work with National Chief Atleo and tackle the issue that our people in our communities face,” said Watson.
He added that the FSIN will still have to lead the way in the unique issues that face Saskatchewan First Nations.
“If we can only count on ourselves that’s good but certainly we’ll look to the AFN to help us when we do need their help,” said Watson.
Watson identified a couple key area that the FSIN would like to see move forward with Atleo including treaty implementation and recognition. He said the chiefs will continue to push the national chief to work with them in those areas.