“This is the most significant one we’ve had since the constitutional talks in the 1980s,” said Russ Diabo, a policy analyst from the Kahnawake Mohawk community south of Montreal who once served as an adviser to AFN national chiefs and who announced his intention to run in April.
Mr. Diabo told The Hill Times that he’s running as an “outsider” candidate, and said he believes Mr. Bellegarde is too cosy with Mr. Trudeau and doesn’t speak up on federal measures he considers to be acting against the independence of First Nations in deciding their own affairs.
“The AFN and Perry Bellegarde have lost control of the agenda. The government of Canada is driving the process now,” he said.
...Russ Diabo, a First Nations activist from Kahnawake, south of Montreal, who is...running to be national chief, says Mr. Trudeau’s “charm offensive” masks the government’s drive to stifle the inherent and treaty rights of Canada’s Indigenous people.
“I think the Trudeau government represents a threat to our rights. The way they’ve operated right from the beginning is in secrecy,” Mr. Diabo says. “When they bring things out, it’s without consulting our people, let alone the AFN who they have signed these top-down agreements with.”
Justin Trudeau ran on an election platform of changing the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Trudeau promised a new nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of Indigenous rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Over halfway into his mandate as Prime Minister, some clarity is emerging on the scope of that nation-to-nation relationship. In February 2018, Trudeau announced the development of a new and transformational Indigenous Rights, Recognition and Implementation Framework.
"London, Ontario June 7th, 2018 – The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (A.I.A.I.) Chiefs Council met to discuss the implications of Canada’s Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework. The Chiefs Council agreed, by consensus, that the Framework was a threat to the inherent rights of First Nations. The council committed to advocate to the General Assembly, that will meet on June 11th – 13th, that they reject the Framework and all its associated processes."
The federal Liberal government's promised Indigenous rights bill would likely do away with the Indian Act by coaxing First Nations into a "narrow model" of self-government aimed at suppressing Indigenous self-determination, according to a new report.
"Opposition to the pipeline could also be a factor in the coming election for the AFN national chief. Candidates Sheila North and Russel Diabo have both put their support behind the pipeline opposition. The current chief, Perry Bellegarde, has been silent."