On Wednesday (July 25), the national media will converge on Vancouver for the election of the head of the Assembly of First Nations.
And today, the only B.C. candidate in the race, former Haida Nation president Miles Richardson, won an endorsement from former national chief Matthew Coon Come.
“I am happy to pay tribute to Miles Richardson and his character," Coon Come said in a news release. "He has transformed the way First Nations view themselves and their place within Canada. He provides key insights into political activism strategies and how to manage the media."
Coon Come is a former grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees in Quebec.
Richardson is well-known to British Columbians as a former chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission.
In addition, Richardson is a close friend of environmentalist David Suzuki, and has been on the David Suzuki Foundation board since it was created in 1992.
In the campaign to become national chief, Richardson has been saying that the role of the Assembly of First Nations is "to support each First Nation in establishing proper nation-to-nation relationship" with the Canadian government.
That entails working with each First Nation "to create space for them to establish their own nationhood", including exercising laws and jurisdiction over their people's well-being.
Richardson has also made the case for the Assembly of First Nations to work to establish strong, sustainable economies to ensure Indigenous nations' self-sufficiency.
And he insists it's not the organization's role to speak and negotiation for First Nations, which are sovereign in their territories and should speak for themselves.
The other candidates in the race are incumbent national chief Perry Bellegarde, Kahnawake Mohawk policy analyst Russell Diabo, former broadcaster and Grand Chief Sheila North, and former Manitoba AFN regional chief Katherine Whitecloud.