12/09/2014 04:00 EST | Updated 02/07/2015 05:59 EST

Assembly of First Nations meeting honours Manitoba teen who was assaulted

WINNIPEG - A three-day meeting of the Assembly of First Nations begins this morning with a special ceremony to honour Rinelle Harper.

The teen was viciously assaulted and left for dead near the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg last month.

She somehow survived and has been called a hero by some for escaping the fate of hundreds of other missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Grand Chief David Harper, who represents northern Manitoba First Nations who are hosting the meeting, says many chiefs wanted to meet the 16-year-old.

Harper says she will address the assembly, even though she is still healing.

The chiefs are meeting to elect a new national leader, to debate the organization's restructuring and to discuss the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.