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Georges Erasmus offers a native view of Canada's future

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.

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On a cool March night, a crowd of 800 has gathered at a Vancouver hotel to hear Georges Erasmus talk about his vision of Canada. Erasmus is the 2002 keynote speaker for the 3rd Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium. The lecture was established by philosopher John Ralston Saul to ponder the future of Canada's democracy. In his speech, Erasmus addresses the need for a new relationship between native and non-native peoples of Canada. He says it is needed and necessary.

Erasmus believes Canada can be a real leader in native issues and urges Canadians to make a difference. He concludes his lecture by saying he is hopeful that native rights will be fully recognized -- if not in his lifetime then during his son's life. The man who has dedicated his entire life fighting for native rights remains undeterred in his vision.
• The LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium was established in 1999 to encourage debate around the future of Canada's civic culture and to honour 19th century political reformers Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin.

• Erasmus was appointed to the Order of Canada, first as a Member in 1987, then as an Officer in 1999.

• Erasmus is currently (2002) the president of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. The organization aids those coping with the legacy of physical and sexual abuse suffered at residential schools. He currently resides in Yellowknife.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: March 8, 2002
Guest(s): Georges Erasmus
Duration: 8:01

Last updated: January 30, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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