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Bellegarde urges indigenous people to lead fight against climate change

OTTAWA – The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations wants indigenous people to take the lead in the fight against climate change – an issue sure to dominate the agenda for first ministers gathering later this week in Ottawa.

Perry Bellegarde, who kicked off the assembly’s annual assembly today in Gatineau, Que., says discussion is needed to foster understanding on why some First Nations are divided over resource development projects.

The AFN has not taken a position on Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline, to which the federal government has given conditional approval.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau halts Northern Gateway, approves Kinder Morgan expansion, Line 3

Trudeau is expected to address the assembly later today.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu and Health Minister Jane Philpott met Bellegarde last night to talk about the issue of sexual abuse and incest on reserves.

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The meeting comes after an investigation by the The Canadian Press documented alarming levels of abuse in some indigenous communities.