“Right now, integrity needs to be a priority at the national level,” said Reginald Bellerose, candidate for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Chiefs will vote Wednesday on a new leader, after RoseAnne Archibald was dismissed earlier this year.

“I feel the Chief’s are seeking trust, diplomacy and relationships in Ottawa,” Bellerose explained. “I’m confident in my ability to build bridges and open doors to the Crown. No matter which party forms government, I would like the Chiefs to see tangible results.”

As part of his platform, Bellerose is proposing a two-day meeting, shortly after taking office, focusing on community-level needs, followed by Assembly of First Nations structural needs.

He wants the AFN to be more inclusive of women and the LGBTQ2S+ community by implementing recommendations, aimed at making the workplace safer.

Bellerose ran unsuccessfully in 2021 to Archibald in the AFN election, where only 180 member-Nations voted. He noted the low attendance at recent assemblies as an issue. The assembly where Archibald was removed had low turnout as well, raising further credibility issues for the AFN.

Bellerose, the former Chief of the Muskowekwan First Nation and current Board Chair of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority is campaigning on making the Assembly of First Nation a strong and effective advocacy organization that First Nations Leaders can trust.

Five other people are contesting for the AFN’s top job, including Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief David Pratt.

Bellerose said he has a transition plan beginning with engaging internally with the AFN to understand work that is underway, followed by establishing meeting with federal officials, adding his priority is being results driven.

Chiefs vote for a new leader Wednesday.