Perry Bellegarde

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Perry Bellegarde
Perry Bellegarde (cropped).jpg
Perry Bellegarde in 2015
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Assumed office
2014
Preceded by Ghislain Picard (interim)
Personal details
Born 1962
Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan

Perry Bellegarde is a Canadian First Nations activist and politician, who was elected as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations on December 10, 2014.[1] A member of the Little Black Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan, he has served as chief of Little Black Bear, as chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and as the Saskatchewan regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations.[2]

Background[edit]

Born in 1962 at the Fort Qu'Appelle Indian Hospital in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan,[3] he was raised on the Little Black Bear reserve and attended elementary and secondary schools in the nearby towns of Goodeve and Balcarres.[3] After high school he attended the Saskatchewan Federated Indian College,[3] and later studied business administration at the University of Regina.[3] Following his graduation, he worked as director of personnel for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies,[3] before joining the Touchwood–File Hills–Qu’Appelle Tribal Council in 1986.[3] After acceding to the presidency of that organization in 1988, Bellegarde led negotiations to transfer management of the Fort Qu’Appelle Indian Hospital from the federal government to local First Nations,[3] and initiated and implemented the city of Regina's new urban service delivery centre for First Nations people.[3]

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations[edit]

In May 1988, Bellegarde became chief of the provincewide Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations,[3] a position which automatically made him a regional vice-chair of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).[3] He served in this role until 2003, and was later reelected to another term in the position in 2012.[4]

In this role, he endorsed Neil Young's Honour the Treaties fundraising concert tour, which raised funds for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal fight against the Athabasca oil sands.[5]

AFN leadership[edit]

Bellegarde was a candidate in the AFN's 2009 leadership election, in which he was defeated by Shawn Atleo on the eighth ballot after six successive ballots on which the candidates were virtually tied.[6] He did not run in the 2012 election, in which Atleo won a second term.

After Atleo's resignation in 2014, Bellegarde ran in the 2014 election,[7] and won on the first ballot.[1]

He has identified one of his early priorities in the position as lobbying for the federal government to establish a judicial inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women,[4] an issue which has dominated First Nations activism in the 2010s.

References[edit]