Chief Perry Bellegarde’s immediate priorities for First Nations people in Canada include “closing the gap”.
Closing the gap
It is absolutely essential and in the interests of all Canadians that we address and finally begin to close the long standing and unacceptable gaps between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Canada. First Nations do not seek better education – we seek the same. First Nations employment opportunities need to match those of other Canadians. First Nations health resources need to mirror those available to non-First Nations people while being culturally-based and appropriate. And First Nations must be economically self-sufficient based upon our inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
When First Nations statistics are applied to the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI), the living conditions of First Nations people in Canada are ranked as 63rd in the world while living conditions for Canadians overall are ranked as 6th. This difference can no longer be tolerated.
Chief Bellegarde has dedicated his entire life for the time when First Nations people in Saskatchewan are living under the same conditions and enjoying the same opportunities as everyone else. As National Chief, he will bring this passion to all First Nations in Canada.