The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations says Romeo Saganash’s bid to lead the federal New Democrats sends a big message to Indigenous people.

Saganash was elected as an NDP MP for the first time in this past election, in a Quebec riding, and he is believed to be the first Aboriginal person to ever seek leadership of a federal party.

National Chief Shawn Atleo says he met Saganash for the first time this week, and told him what he was doing was not only exciting but courageous.

Atleo says Saganash’s leadership bid shows Indigenous people that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything — and notes that when you become the leader of the Opposition, there is always the chance you could one day be Prime Minister.