Speaker Profiles

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

Assembly of First Nations

Perry Bellegarde, elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, holds a wealth of leadership experience. He’s spent the past thirty years putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate and unrelenting in creating real, measurable progress on the priorities that matter most to First Nations, Perry Bellegarde is a strong advocate for honouring and implementing Inherent and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.
Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory, Perry has served as Tribal Council Representative for the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, as well as Chief and Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation. He has experience and expertise in leadership at all levels of First Nations governance. In 2014 the Chiefs-in-Assembly elected Perry as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and re-elected him in 2018.
As Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Perry Bellegarde remains committed to building on the momentum created since his election in 2014. His national platform and agenda, Closing the Gap, remains a top priority and has directly influenced the federal government’s planning and priorities. Closing the Gap has resulted in a continuation of, and an expansion of, the $21 billion committed to Indigenous priorities in the last four federal budgets, the $3.3 Billion committed to on-reserve education, and the $1.4 Billion for child welfare. His focused approach on the passage of the Indigenous Languages Act, upholding the right of First Nations to define our own paths to self-determination, ensuring action on the successful complaint filed against the federal government by the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society for under-funding First Nations child welfare, and a new fiscal relationship with the Crown that treats First Nations as governments in fiscal matters, are examples of priorities that remain squarely on his action agenda.
Perry, an oskâpêwis or helper, uses his life to advance First Nations priorities. Perry led Little Black Bear First Nation out of third-party management within eight months of being elected Chief and facilitated Little Black Bear’s re-qualification for CMHC housing after a 13 year period with no new houses. At the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Perry worked to restore the original Treaty 4 grounds to reserve status in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle. He also facilitated the transfer of the hospital to First Nations control leading the way to a new multi-million dollar hospital—the All Nations Healing Hospital. At FSIN he negotiated a twenty-five year gaming agreement with the Province of Saskatchewan, stabilizing the Saskatchewan First Nations gaming industry which employs more than 2,000 people today. As Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, he worked alongside the National First Nations Veterans Association to spearhead the national compensation package for First Nations Veterans and their spouses.
His commitment to ongoing education is exemplified in his achievement as the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration in 1984. In 2012, he graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business.
As an active champion of First Nations inclusion, Perry has served on a wide range of boards: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, YMCA Canada, YMCA Regina, the Globe Theatre, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and many more.
Perry’s focus as a First Nations leader has been recognized numerous times. He has been named the Stapleford Lecturer at the University of Regina, and has been awarded the Confederation Medal, the Saskatchewan Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal on two separate occasions. This year, the Province of Saskatchewan recognized Perry with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde remains committed to leading and building consensus to resolve issues that benefit First Nations and inspire unity. Throughout his life, working within a variety of political processes, Perry remains grateful for the strength and vision he has gained from the Elders. He vows to always place great importance on respecting their teachings. Their guidance has made him a man of foresight and a leader for generations.
See www.perrybellegarde.com and www.afn.ca for additional information regarding Perry’s leadership.

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