Arlen Dumas, centre, was elected grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on July 19, 2017. (Hilda Anderson-Pyrz/Submitted) The new grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will call on governments to cut through "stagnant" bureaucracy to address issues facing #Indigenous Canadians.
Arlen Dumas was elected on Wednesday with 33 out of 54 possible votes. The assembly represents more than 60 First Nations in Manitoba.
On Thursday, he criticized internal workings of the federal and provincial governments, saying they’re slowing co-operation between First Nations and the Canadian government on a variety of issues, including #suicide on First Nations.
"I have to believe in my heart and in my mind that Health Canada and the province and everybody wants to help with this thing, but what is impeding us from actually realizing that?" Dumas said.
Outgoing grand chief Derek Nepinak said last year he would not run for re-election, citing similar concerns about the government system.
"I thought that by working inside, I could change it, but the truth is that it’s a moving floor within that monster bureaucracy we call #Indian Affairs," Nepinak told CBC News in November .
Dumas said he plans to send a letter to provincial and federal ministers advising them he’s looking toward "carving a new way forward."
He said he believes leaders want to work together.
"When the premier and the minister says, ‘Yes, we want to work together,’ … well, why aren’t we able to work together? Why are there stumbling blocks?" he said.
"The only thing I can put that on is a bureaucracy that is stagnant and not wanting to move forward and provide benefits that are mutually beneficial not only to First Nations but to Manitobans and Canadians."
Dumas is the chief of Mathias Colomb #First Nation in Pukatawagan, Man.
With files from CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio
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