07/18/2012 12:06 EDT | Updated 09/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Facts about the candidates for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations

TORONTO - There are eight candidates in the running for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, a record number.

In alphabetical order, they are:

— Shawn Atleo: The incumbent, a hereditary chief from the Ahousaht First Nation in British Columbia; campaigning on record of making education a top priority, advocating for First Nations inclusion in Canadian economy and opening doors in Ottawa;

— Bill Erasmus: Long-time regional chief for Northwest Territories, well known among chiefs, especially since his brother George held national chief title. Has vowed to stop Northern Gateway pipeline and give First Nations a louder voice in negotiating the sharing of resource wealth.

- Ellen Gabriel: Mohawk activist from Kanesatake in western Quebec gained national profile during Oka crisis in 1990 when she was the spokeswoman for people on her reserve. Wants a larger role for women in decision-making and wants AFN to be more receptive to grassroots concerns about housing, education and environment.

- Joan Jack: Lawyer from Berens River, Man., has made her name advocating for former First Nations students of day-schools where culture was repressed. She wants to educate Canadians on First Nations history and rights, believes it's time for a woman to speak up on behalf of First Nations chiefs.

- Diane Kelly: Ojibwa lawyer is former grand chief of Treaty 3 — a large area straddling northern Ontario and Manitoba. Set a deadline of 150 days to implement plan on increasing First Nations share of resource revenues, calling on communities to stop worrying about independence and just assert it.

- Pam Palmater: Mik'maq lawyer and political pundit has never been a chief and has only had her First Nations status for a year. Says her goal is to bring grassroots voice to policy discussion and make chiefs think twice about accepting status quo.

- Terence Nelson: A long-time activist who spent five terms as chief of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation. Held a high-profile meeting with Iranian officials in Ottawa earlier this year to pitch closer ties between that country and First Nations. He wants to increase profile of First Nations communities and economies globally.

- George Stanley: The former RCMP officer is also Assembly of First Nations Regional Vice-Chief for Alberta. Home community of Frog Nation located in province's oil sands, has four-point plan with focus on seeing greater aboriginal involvement in natural resource development and pipeline development.