Wab Kinew eyes run for Assembly of First Nations chief
Wab Kinew, University of Winnipeg's director of indigenous inclusion, is seriously considering a run for chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Kinew, 32, told CBC News on Tuesday morning he has yet to make a decision and so "it would be premature to give an interview."
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However, he's already getting a lot of support on social media, with people offering their support and encouragement and saying he is on a trajectory to one day become Canada's prime minister.
Others have expressed disappointment though, because they would rather see him take a shot as the next premier of Manitoba.
The feedback prompted Kinew to post the following message on Twitter:
Miigwech, Nia:wen, Welalin, Hiy Hiy, Mahsi, Merci & thanks to everyone offering support, challenges & questions
Kinew said his family comes first and he wouldn't get involved in a career in public service without his family's support.
"I think at the end of the day we all want a few things in common,” said Kinew. “We want good things for our children, we want our languages and cultures to be strong again and we want self-determination for the local communities."
Kinew admits while he has experience in education, the media and public speaking, it would be a big step.
"In terms of it being a big jump, yes it is. I can say that I have been prepared for this. My elders, my parents, my community has kind of shepherded me to be a leader. The question is, is now the time for me to lead?"
A man who wears many hats, Kinew is a rapper, a former CBC News reporter who also hosted the weekly arts magazine radio show The 204, and the national documentary series 8th Fire.
He currently hosts the documentary TV program Fault Lines on Al Jazeera America, has written extensively about issues affecting First Nations people in newspapers across Canada, and has won an Aboriginal People's Choice Music Award for his hip-hop music.
In 2012, Postmedia News named him one of "Nine Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know."
Originally from the Onigaming First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, Kinew is the son of Tobasonakwut Kinew, a former local and regional chief and a professor of indigenous governance at the University of Winnipeg who died in 2012.
The position of AFN chief was made vacant when Shawn Atleo stepped down on May 2 amid controversy over Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.
The federal government bill has divided aboriginal chiefs, and Atleo had faced calls for his ouster on social media and criticism from some regional chiefs over his support for the overhaul. When he resigned, he said he was no longer willing to be a "lightning rod" for criticism of the bill.
Atleo was first elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2012.