Longtime Sask. First Nation chief a contender in upcoming Assembly of First Nations election

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Reginald Bellerose (at mic) told the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chiefs in Assembly last month that he'd be running for the position of Assembly of First Nations Chief. (Submitted by FSIN - image credit)
Reginald Bellerose (at mic) told the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chiefs in Assembly last month that he'd be running for the position of Assembly of First Nations Chief. (Submitted by FSIN - image credit)

Reginald Bellerose, a former chief of the Muskowekwan First Nation, is campaigning to become the next chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Bellerose, the lone candidate from Saskatchewan, formally announced his intentions at the FSIN's Spring Assembly at the end of May and publicly announced his candidacy on Thursday.

"We need to unify our chiefs," Bellerose said on Thursday. "We need to find one agenda and have a unified vision. That one agenda and unified vision is going to help in every area."

Bellerose finds himself running against RoseAnne Archibald from Ontario, Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse from Alberta, Lee Crowchild from Alberta, Alvin Fiddler from Ontario, Kevin T. Hart from Manitoba and Cathy Martin from Quebec.

Tackling what he said were moves by Ottawa to pass federal responsibilities on to the provinces was among the items he said he wanted to address, along with health and wellness of First Nations people, rights and jurisdiction, and economic issues.

Bellerose is campaigning to replace Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde, who also calls the Little Black Bear reserve in southern Saskatchewan home. Bellegarde announced he wouldn't be running last December after two terms as the Assembly of First Nations chief.

Along with nearly two decades as chief of Muskowekwan, Bellerose served as chair of various boards and committees, including the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

Nominations for the Assembly's 2021 election closed on Wednesday. The chiefs who comprise the Assembly of First Nations will cast their votes on July 7 at the organization's annual general assembly.

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