From the outset of Shawn A-in-chut Atleo’s surprise 2009 ascendancy to the Assembly of First Nations’ top job, he seemed a different type of National Chief.
The 42-year-old was young enough to have dodged the residential school era, he was a university chancellor with an Australian education degree, a breakdancer who could moonwalk on command and, in an organization composed largely of treatied peoples, Mr. Atleo came from the untreatied lands of British Columbia.
And before rooms of Toronto suits, he had no qualms declaring that First Nations were “open for business.”
“We’re here to stay and we’re looking for partners. We’re open for business,” he told a gathering of the Toronto Board of Trade just five months after his election.
His modern approach wasn’t universally popular, though, and on Friday the man whose name literally means “everyone depends on you” became the first-ever National AFN Chief to resign, openly vilified as a traitor, a sellout and a man colluding with Ottawa to destroy his own people...