Macdonald-Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Ken Coates provided analysis on the results of the Assembly of First Nations elections, which saw Perry Bellegarde elected as the new leader, to several media outlets this week.
Coates told The Canadian Press that Bellegarde’s election comes at a time when the AFN is in flux. The new chief will need to spend the first year reshaping and redefining the organization following the resignation of former chief Shawn Atleo earlier this year.
The “political landscape” surrounding Aboriginal issues has changed, the article notes, so it will be up to the AFN to catch up.
“The status quo is not acceptable”, Coates told CP. “It’s obvious people want to go in a different direction”.
The article ran in news outlets across the country, including the Record in Waterloo, Global online and in french for Le Devoir.
In a separate interview with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Coates said Bellegarde’s history of advocating for treaties in Saskatchewan and demonstrating knowledge of the resource industry could provide a blueprint for the rest of the country.
“I’m convinced this is Saskatchewan’s moment”, Coates told the paper.
Coates has extensively researched contemporary Aboriginal affairs issues.
In September he and MLI Senior Fellow published a paper looking at the implications of the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision.
He is also the co-author, with MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley, of a paper examining how pipeline development could reshape the role of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Coates also spoke with several radio stations on the issue, including the Scott Thompson Show on CHML in Hamilton, Ont.