In the first keynote address to the Assembly of First Nations annual meeting, Bellegarde said First Nations voters need to make themselves heard on Oct.19.
The advocacy group has identified at least 51 ridings across the country that could be decided by active First Nations participation.
Bellegarde said now is the time to mobilize because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recent report has captured the attention of Canadians with its description of the residential school legacy as "cultural genocide."
"As thousands of brave people shared their experiences and spoke the truth, Canadians woke up to a chapter of their history that must be forever remembered and never forgotten," Bellegarde told an audience of First Nations leaders from across the country.
This is Bellegarde's first meeting as national chief.
He is also calling on the government to respect traditional territories and honour its legal duty to accommodate First Nations people.
"Reconciliation means nothing less than keeping the promises the government of Canada first made to our people to share and live together," Bellegarde said.
"Reconciliation involves all Canadians ... I believe Canadians want their political leaders to do the right thing."
Bellegarde has been calling for all federal parties to address indigenous issues in their election platforms.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau responded to this call by delivering back-to-back speeches Tuesday afternoon as both parties roll out election promises aimed at aboriginal affairs — although federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt was not present.
Mulcair offered a "new era" of nation-to-nation relations with indigenous communities if he becomes prime minister after this fall's federal election. The NDP plans to commit to a "government-wide" approach to address aboriginal affairs.
Trudeau spoke after the NDP leader. He announced a series of campaign-style commitments, including a promise to bolster funding for aboriginal education.
Trudeau also addressed the need to overhaul the relationship between First Nations and the federal government, such as targeting the growing socio-economic gap that exists between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians in areas including employment.
But some chiefs remain skeptical.
"They're not going to do nothing for us if they get in," said Reginald Bellerose from the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan. "They're going to avoid us if they get in."
Bellerose is also cynical about hearing from former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, who is also addressing the event.
"I see Paul Martin on here," he said. "Where the hell was Paul Martin when he was prime minister? He didn't come sit here."
The current government's relationship with aboriginal people has been under the microscope in recent weeks following the release of a scathing report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The commission's summary report said the current relationship with the federal government and aboriginal peoples is "deteriorating" due to ongoing conflicts over education, child welfare, and justice.
Aboriginal education has been a particularly thorny issue for both the government as well as the AFN.
In February 2014, federal Conservatives thought they had the support of the AFN's then-national chief Shawn Atleo and other indigenous leaders when they announced $1.9 billion in federal money for a First Nations education act.
But some indigenous leaders were opposed to the legislation because they felt it gave the federal government too much control.
The deal subsequently dissolved and led to Atleo's departure as head of the AFN that May.
Valcourt continues to defend the government's legislation and says it met the conditions outlined by the AFN and aboriginal leaders. But there has been no sign of any meeting of the minds that would allow an education deal to progress.
The AFN's newly-elected Ontario regional chief Isadore Day doubts if there was ever a real deal.
"Do we know what was attached to the deal?" Day said. "Do we know who actually struck the deal?"
Day said there "certainly seemed to be something wrong" with the way the agreement was reached, including a lack of implementation plan.
"The former national chief had a lot of back-door dealings and discussions on that which we never knew took place," Day said. "Moving forward, it is clear any movement on the issue of education ... it is a fundamental pillar for every First Nation community."
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