Chief Perry Bellegarde attended the coronation of King Charles III as a long-time collaborator with the new sovereign. He believes this new era of the monarchy holds a promising outlook for the future of Indigenous peoples not only in Canada but around the world.
Perry first met Charles in 2001, when the future king visited Saskatchewan to mark the 125th anniversary of Treaty 6 with the Crown. In 2019, Charles asked Perry, alongside his wife Valerie Galley Bellegarde, to join him as an advisor on his Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).
In an opinion piece published in the Ottawa Citizen ahead of Charles’ coronation, Perry credits Charles for embracing and adopting the Indigenous worldview, especially when it comes to our interconnectedness with nature. SMI is dedicated to creating balance between the environment and the economy, Perry said, bringing together government, industry, and technical experts to prioritize sustainable development that puts nature first.
In reference to that 2019 meeting, Perry wrote:
At the time, I was struck by His Majesty’s sincerity and by his passionate commitment to our planet and its future. But more than that, what stayed with me was the memory of how extraordinary and also familiar that conversation was. Extraordinary, because of the novelty of meeting with a member of the Royal Family and the formalities that surround such an occasion. Familiar, because after all the formalities were done, I realized that I was also speaking with a person whose appreciation of the interconnectedness of the world, and our responsibilities to future generations, fully resonated with the values and teachings of my own people.
Perry was invited to attend Charles’ coronation on May 6, 2023. He spoke with both CBC’s The National and Global News ahead of and post-coronation, sharing his enthusiasm for the invitation and his optimism for the future Crown-Indigenous relationship.
Perry believes in the sanctity of the treaties between First Nations and the Crown, having previously written about their importance in building a better and brighter future for Canada. This is something he and Charles agree on, and Perry’s optimism stems from the commitment Charles has already shown to bettering the relationships between Indigenous peoples and the monarchy.
This was demonstrated during Charles’ May 2022 visit to Canada. He made a strong, powerful statement about reconciliation, Perry told Global News, and about listening to Indigenous peoples to learn from their stories and experiences, including their Residential School history, the Indian Act imposition, and the history of colonization and genocide. He is also a strong proponent of the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Perry called “a roadmap to reconciliation.”
Charles also met with Canada’s national Indigenous leaders ahead of his coronation to engage in conversation about Indigenous issues and re-affirm his commitment to helping reconciliation move forward.
To the naysayers, Perry said he hopes people can give the individual a chance. While Charles is inheriting a monarchy with a heavy history, he’s entering it listening, dedicated to bettering relations, and with a commitment to serving all of his people.
Watch Perry’s full interview with Global News below, where he dives deeper into the Treaty relationship and its role in fostering a deep connection between Canada and the monarchy, as well as his hope moving forward.
The former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Chief Perry Bellegarde has dedicated his life to championing the rights and well-being of First Nations. As a member of Little Black Bear First Nation, he credits the wisdom shared by the First Nations Elders of Saskatchewan for instilling in him a deep sense of pride in his culture, as well as a lasting conviction that Indigenous knowledge and values are crucial to building a more just and inclusive society.
Perry’s thoughtful and forward-thinking keynotes share his vision for building a more resilient and sustainable world for all our children. Contact us to learn more about Perry and how to work with him at your next event.