The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations says he's excited with the prospect of working with incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Chief Perry Bellegarde was impressed Trudeau brought up First Nations issues in his victory speech last night. One of Trudeau's first campaign promises was an increase of $2.6 billion for First Nations Education.
"He echoed the six priorities we put forward to the parties," said Bellegarde. "According to the United Nations, Canada is rated sixth for quality of life, and to indigenous, we're 63rd. And that gap represents the gap on education and the gap represents the overcrowding in housing and the gap represents the high youth suicide rate."
Bellegarde hoped to work on rebuilding a nation to nation relationship with the federal government. Many First Nations chiefs were unhappy with their relationship with the federal government under the Conservative Party.
"It's about building a relationship with the prime minister and his cabinet and a respectful relationship that is based on cooperation and collaboration and working together closely," said Bellegarde.
This is the first federal election Bellegarde has voted in, mainly because he believed First Nations negotiate with the Crown, not individual political parties.
He admits to being nervous when he stepped into the ballot box.
"It's about bringing change and another tool in our tool box to bring about change."
Bellegarde said he plans to set up a formal first meeting with Trudeau soon.