Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Press Release from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

I find the press release below interesting for several reasons.

1) In the last 20 years the UBCIC has been the home of the First Nations that do not believe in voting in elections.

2) They point out the three First Nation candidates running in the election. There is one each for the Liberals, Greens and NDP. Marion Wright for the Liberals in North Island and Troy Sebastian for the NDP in Kootenay East both have a chance to get elected.

3) The press release is clearly non-partisan in its approach. In the past the NDP has been the overwhelming home of First Nations voters in BC.

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Coast Salish Territory/ North Vancouver –First Nations Chiefs are calling on all eligible First Nations voters to exercise this important right to have their voices heard by ensuring they are registered to vote and heading to the polls on election day.

"With 203 different First Nations across the province, and many thousands of eligible voters, our numbers can make a difference in many ridings throughout BC", said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, First Nations Summit Task Group member. "I encourage our communities to familiarize themselves with the platforms of each party and their local candidates to make an informed choice for themselves and their community."

"It is our children and grandchildren who have been forced, on a daily basis, to endure the appalling conditions of poverty of our communities. Therefore, it only makes sense that our youth take every advantage to vote in the upcoming provincial election," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "Whoever wins the election will play a significant part in influencing important decisions concerning our economic well-being in relation to revenue sharing and shared decision-making which underscores the need for the voices of our youth people to be heard.”

"This year marks the 60 year anniversary of First Nations receiving the right to vote in B.C. thanks to the efforts of the Native Brotherhood of BC." said BC Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo). "1949 was also the year Frank Calder became the first Aboriginal elected to the legislature. It is heartening to see three First Nations candidates in this election following the trail blazed by Calder" he added.

Troy Sebastien (Ktunaxa) is running in the Kootenay-East riding for the NDP. Marion Wright (Kwakiutl Band) is contesting the North Island riding for the BC Liberals, and Liz Logan (Dene/Fort Nelson First Nation) is the Green candidate for Peace River North. Information on the provincial election and all parties taking part can be found at the Elections BC website at www.elections.bc.ca.

For more information please contact:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President, UBCIC: 250-490-5314

Colin Braker
Communications Director Office: 604-926-9903

Ryneld Starr
Communications Officer
Office of the BC Regional Chief
Assembly of First Nations: 604-922-7733
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