No further meetings with the Prime Minister Chief Isadore Day tells National

first_imgAPTN National NewsFault lines continue to appear in the Assembly of First Nations after Serpent River Chief Isadore Day wrote National Chief Shawn Atleo Monday warning him to stay away from the prime minister in a letter obtained by APTN National News.Day is highly critical of Atleo in his letter and said any further meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper can’t be made unless agreed upon by chiefs.“Any such meetings where First Nation matters are discussed should include First Nation leaders directly in the discussions. This is our agenda,” said Day in his letter. “It is not yours to make unilateral decisions about.”But according to the Prime Minister’s Office, Harper and Atleo are expected to meet “soon”.Atleo met with Harper Jan. 11 along with more than a dozen chiefs. But the meeting was boycotted by chiefs from Manitoba, Ontario and the Northwest Territories.APTN obtained a confidential draft of the minutes of that meeting.It shows that Harper said he believed the Idle No More movement was losing public support.Day warned Atleo he has no authority to discuss treaty rights of his First Nation.“As leaders we will advise you of what we aspire to set in place to protect treaty. This is not the role we will to relinquish to the AFN and Stephen Harper because, so far, your joint agenda with the (PMO) has only given us nothing except undesirable results,” said Day.Atleo responded with a letter of his own dated Tuesday. He said many of Day’s concerns have already been addressed and, while the AFN is an advocacy group for the 600-plus First Nation chiefs in Canada, it gets its mandate from the chiefs. Atleo than pushes that mandate with people such as Harper.“This is a key duty of the national chief and one which I will fulfill as mandated repeatedly and by a clear majority who established a firm mandate for me as national chief last July 2012,” said Atleo. “This, in no way, contravenes or presupposes your rights or those of your peoples. My role, as I clearly and repeatedly state, is an advocate and to open doors so you and your peoples can drive solutions you deem appropriate.”As critical as Day is of Atleo’s conduct, he said chiefs have no desire to break from the AFN. But he said his credibility took a hit prior to the January 11 meeting with the prime minister.“You left the impression with those who were assembled (day before Harper meeting) that you would not go into that meeting,” said Day. “You declared we were united…National chief, this is where my confidence and trust in you was seriously diminished.”Atleo gave a rousing speech the night before meeting with Harper before a couple hundred chiefs and supporters. He spoke of grasping the moment and not getting pushed around anymore.In his letter to Day, Atleo said he never said he wasn’t going, nor was the AFN given a motion to not go.“In my remarks, I was absolutely clear throughout that while we are diverse that we united in our struggle for change. We stand together on the issues,” he said.Day also questioned another meeting Atleo had with Harper. On Nov. 28, Atleo met privately with the prime minister but the fact that the meeting took place and what issues were discussed was not shared with chiefs weeks later at a special chiefs assembly. Some chiefs didn’t find out about it until it was reported by APTN on Dec. 17.“It caught everyone by surprise,” he said. “What was discussed at that meeting? Why are you so reluctant to be accountable and explain the details?”Atleo responded that he told the AFN executive about the meeting before and the reported back to them afterwards.He never does outright address Day’s comments about no further meetings with Harper, but does say throughout he will continue his mandate.last_img