Assembly of First Nations National Chief Atleo on the Passing of South African Leader Nelson Mandela
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today offered the below statement following the passing of South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and our National Executive, I offer condolences to the family of Mr. Nelson Mandela, the people of South Africa and all those moved and inspired by his life and his example.
Mr. Mandela was and is an inspiration to people around the world and will continue to be a model of courage and leadership. He proved time and again that the spirit of a true leader cannot be broken, and that with conviction and unshakeable belief in justice and fairness one can achieve change.
First Nations saw in Mr. Mandela a kindred spirit, a crusader for Indigenous rights and human rights who believed in reconciliation and the basic dignity and value of every human life. Part of a family of hereditary Chiefs, Mr. Mandela was given the name Madiba by the Thembu people in honour of an 18th century Chief and a clear recognition of the connection among all Indigenous peoples and the tremendous leadership they have brought to the world.
Driving the change you want to see in the world is a theme that resonates with First Nation peoples across Canada as we advance efforts to give life to our rights. As Indigenous peoples, many First Nations feel a special connection to Mr. Mandela’s lifelong efforts and achievements, and First Nations have honoured him on many occasions.
First Nations stand with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples world-wide in celebrating Mr. Mandela’s life and committing to carrying forward his spirit and his values, for the betterment of our peoples today and tomorrow. Let his commitment to justice and reconciliation be an encouraging and energizing force for all of us to drive change now.”
Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.