Perry Bellegarde won’t seek re-election as head of Assembly of First Nations

Perry Bellegarde

OTTAWA — National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says he won’t seek re-election as the head of the organization next summer.

Bellegarde, who has served in the role since 2014, says in a series of tweets that he has successfully advocated for laws protecting Indigenous children and languages and the new bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He says his advocacy has also helped to secure more than $27 billion in new funding and brought widespread attention to issues and concerns that were previously talked about only among First Nations themselves.

He says he will address the chiefs at its general assembly, which is being held virtually this week after it was put off in the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national chief is elected every three years to lead the AFN, a political advocacy organization that represents more than 600 First Nations in Canada.

At its general assembly, the AFN is set to urge the government to address inequities faced by First Nations during the pandemic and to support safe and high-quality education, health-care resources and infrastructure, among other issues.