National chief lays out timelines, priorities for talks with Harper
Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo adjusts his glasses as he responds to a question during a news conference on Jan. 10, 2013 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 25, 2013 1:59PM EST
OTTAWA -- National Chief Shawn Atleo is staking his ground for upcoming talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to improve the quality of life for First Nations.
Atleo, who is taking Harper up on his offer of further talks, returns to Ottawa re-energized after a 10-day sick leave, protests across the country and Theresa Spence's six-week hunger protest.
He says he wants to see concrete action from the federal government within three or four months, placing a priority on modernizing treaties and land claim negotiations.
He also wants a rejuvenated effort to reform First Nations education.
Atleo also has proposals to deal with the hundreds of aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered over the past few years.
Atleo is under intense pressure from chiefs to deliver substantively and quickly, but he says Harper faces pressure too: he needs the support of First Nations to proceed with plans to ramp up natural resource extraction.