Georges Erasmus: Hail the new chief
Georges Henry Erasmus has a dream: Self-government for the native peoples of Canada. The charismatic native leader has devoted his life to fighting tirelessly for the right of his people to control their own lives and the land they live on. From his early days as the president of the Dene Nation or as the co-chair of the historic Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Erasmus has never swayed from his vision. It's a dream that has yet to be fully realized.
The two have diametrically opposed ideas about the future of the AFN.
Erasmus wants to work with the premiers in the constitutional talks and negotiate on behalf of all native peoples.
Ahenakew wants to cut the provinces out of the talks altogether and doesn't see the value in uniting with the Inuit and the Métis.
Erasmus, tired of central leadership, vows to distribute power back to the hands of the delegates. Ahenakew disagrees.
In the end, Erasmus is elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations on July 30, 1985. He beats Ahenakew by a narrow margin of 274 to 231 votes.
. In 2002, David Ahenakew found himself at the centre of controversy for praising Hitler and the Holocaust to a Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter. Ahenakew later apologized for his racist remarks and stepped down as the head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations senate. Native leaders including Erasmus unanimously denounced Ahenakew's comments.
Program: The World At Six
Broadcast Date: July 30, 1985
Guest(s): Georges Erasmus
Reporter: Neil Ford
Last updated: January 30, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Erasmus debates the importance of self-rule for native peoples.
Erasmus is elected National Chief of Assembly of First Nations in a ti...
Another constitutional conference fails to settle issues of native sov...
A frustrated Erasmus warns of inevitable violence by aboriginal people...
Erasmus wonders why native peoples should honour Canada's 125th.
Erasmus condemns the Catholic Church during a hearing for the Royal Co...
The Royal Commission report polarizes Ottawa with its sweeping recomme...
Erasmus offers a native view of Canada's future.
Georges Henry Erasmus has a dream: Self-government for the native peop...