AFN National Chief, First Nation leaders and First Nation business
proponents traveling to China to develop trade relationships and
participate in a cultural exchange
OTTAWA, Oct. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, together with a small group of First
Nation leaders and First Nation business proponents, will be in ChinaOctober 21 to 31, 2011 to discuss economic development partnerships
opportunities with Chinese government officials and Chinese businesses.
"First Nations recognize the growing importance of Asian markets, and
the opportunity to seek out a competitive advantage to expand economic
opportunities for First Nations and all of Canada. First Nations have
innovative plans for community-based sustainable economic development
and we are reaching out to partners nationally and internationally for
opportunities that work for our peoples and communities," said AFN
National Chief Shawn Atleo.
National Chief Atleo and AFN Yukon Regional Chief Eric Morris will be
joined by First Nation government and business leaders from several
regions including BC, Alberta and Ontario. The Trade Mission to China
will be the first of many potential visits to foreign countries in the
hope of developing international interest to invest in trade and
economic opportunities in First Nation communities.
The AFN has been mandated by First Nation leadership across Canada to
facilitate international relationships. The Ambassador of China to
Canada addressed Chiefs during the Special Chiefs Assembly in 2010 and
also during the International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining
held in Niagara Falls June 2011 along with delegations from other
"This official visit to China is a mission of encouraging exchange and
trade opportunities," AFN Yukon Regional Chief Eric Morris who also
holds the national portfolio for Economic Partnerships. "First Nations
are not opposed to development that is sustainable and environmentally
responsible. In fact, we welcome the opportunity to work with
governments and industry from the outset based on the principles of
free, prior and informed consent as set out in the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The AFN has worked closely with several First Nations on this initial
trip and in particular, the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council.
The AFN and BC First Nations officials have worked with the Embassy for
the Peoples Republic of China, and the Canadian Government and its
consulate office in Beijing. The Friendship Association for Foreign
Countries of China will be hosting the delegation during the Trade
Highlights of the Trade Mission to China:
Sunday, October 23: Meeting with former Ambassador to Canada, Mei Ping,
currently Chairman of the China National Committee of the Pacific
Monday, October 24: Exchange of information with the Ministry of
Commerce and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Tuesday, October 25: Opening of First Nation Grain Management office in
Wednesday, October 26: Participation in a conference hosted by the
Southwest University of Nationalities of Chengdu to exchange
information on education and ethnicity in China, First Nations and
Aboriginal people in Canada.
Thursday, October 27: Totem Pole Raising Ceremony: Gift presented by
Grand Chief John to the people of Beichuan, on behalf of First Nations
across Canada, after their city was ravaged by a devastating earthquake
in 2008. National Chief Atleo and delegates have been invited to attend
and participate in this showcase of friendship to help the people of
Beichuan on their road to recovery. The totem pole will be raised in a
newly constructed museum in Beichuan.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.