In 2009, Shawn Atleo won what was arguably the tightest race for any political leadership in Canadian history to become the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the most influential organization of its kind in the country.

The AFN national chief is elected by the 633 chiefs of First Nations across Canada and the winner has to get 60% of the vote. In 2009, Atleo had only won 58% after eight ballots. But after eight ballots his chief opponent at the time, Perry Bellegarde, conceded and Atleo became national chief.

Since then, Atleo has focused his leadership at the AFN to improving education for Canada’s First Nations people, believing that improving skills development, literacy and numeracy is the only sure-fire way to improve what is for far too many First Nations people in Canada a bleak existence…

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