News

First Nations Leaders Join National Chief Bellegarde in Montreal to Support Indigenous Peoples Chapter in NAFTA Negotiations

on January 23, 2018

(Montreal, QC) – As the latest round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks begin in Montreal, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and a delegation of First Nations leaders, including members of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development, were in Montreal to show support for the Indigenous Peoples Chapter that is being introduced today at the negotiating table. The Indigenous Peoples Chapter is an initiative by Canada in response to National Chief Bellegarde’s recommendation as part of Canada’s NAFTA Council.

“It is essential that our rights, our peoples and our traditional territories are recognized, respected and honoured in these discussions,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The legal landscape on Indigenous rights has changed significantly since NAFTA was first negotiated, including the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This reality has to inform the NAFTA negotiations and any outcomes. We are here to reinforce to all parties that they endorsed the UN Declaration, and to remind Canada that regardless of the outcome, they have constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples.”

The National Chief, along with portfolio holder B.C. Regional Chief Terry Teegee, are meeting in Montreal with members of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development to discuss the importance of trade to First Nations economic growth, participation in the labour force and inter-tribal trade.

Regional Chief Teegee stated, “Our involvement in NAFTA sets an important precedent for any future discussions of this kind. Indigenous peoples and rights are becoming a new area of discussions in national and international trade negotiations, and Canada is putting itself at the forefront of this work. This is a positive approach, and our involvement will lead to a better outcome for First Nations and all Canadians.”

National Chief Bellegarde was approached in July 2017 to participate on the NAFTA Council to advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs directly throughout the NAFTA negotiations. This is the first time an AFN National Chief has been asked by Canada to participate in international trade agreements and sets an important precedent.

AFN Annual General Assembly resolution #32/2017, First Nations Trade Relations, provides direction to the AFN, affirms First Nations inherent right to trade, and mandates efforts to advocate for First Nations economic growth and the development of options to secure greater economic independence.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 201
jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Angie TurnerFirst Nations Leaders Join National Chief Bellegarde in Montreal to Support Indigenous Peoples Chapter in NAFTA Negotiations

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates New AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief Kluane Adamek

on January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde congratulates Kluane Adamek who was appointed by Yukon First Nation Chiefs as the AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief on January 17, 2018.

“I congratulate Kluane Adamek on her appointment and welcome her to the AFN Executive Committee,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “I have known Interim Regional Chief Adamek for many years and I look forward to working together to pursue priorities for First Nations in the Yukon and First Nations across the country.  Her strong voice, leadership and dedication to issues like education, the environment, economic development, child and youth development, and governance will help advance our priorities on a national level.”

Interim Regional Chief Adamek previously represented Yukon interests at the AFN as the territory’s representative to both the AFN Chiefs Committee on Education and the AFN Youth Council.  She was the Director of Government Relations for Northwestel, the largest telecommunications company in the North, and has worked for the Yukon Government’s cabinet office. Interim Regional Chief Adamek is the founder of Our Voices, a collective of northern Indigenous emerging leaders. In 2017 she was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference. Interim Regional Chief Adamek is a citizen of Kluane First Nation.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext 116
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates New AFN Yukon Interim Regional Chief Kluane Adamek

AFN National Chief Calls for Justice for St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors

on January 15, 2018

January 15, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the Government of Canada must work with survivors of the St. Anne’s Residential School to achieve justice and reconciliation.

“We stand with the survivors of the St. Anne’s Residential School in their fight for justice,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Bellegarde. “We join their call for Canada to put aside court battles and work with them to reach a negotiated settlement that will help in their journey to healing. Canada says it is committed to reconciliation, and justice for residential schools survivors is fundamental to that work. We have supported the survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School in the past and we stand with them again today.”

The survivors are calling on the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to work with them on a negotiated settlement. On January 4, 2018, in the most recent court decision on this matter, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled that the federal government could continue to reject the use of police and court transcripts as evidence in student-on-student compensation claims from survivors who attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School.

AFN has participated in legal action supporting St. Anne’s survivors in the past and will continue to support them.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

―30―

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Calls for Justice for St. Anne’s Residential School Survivors

Investment in First Nations Policing Welcome Move for First Nation Families and Safety, AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says

on January 12, 2018

January 11, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says yesterday’s announcement on federal support for the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) is necessary and critical to ensure safety and security for First Nations and First Nations police forces and police officers.

“Our primary concern is safety and security for First Nations, our families and First Nations police officers,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Yesterday’s announcement will help ensure First Nations police officers and staff will have the tools necessary to do their jobs. These officers already put their lives on the line and should not have to face additional risks because they don’t have proper equipment. We want our police forces to be supported and funded at the same levels as other police forces in Canada and deemed an essential service. I lift up Minister Goodale for taking a significant step in the right direction.”

The First Nations Policing Program has been an urgent priority for First Nations, with many agreements set to expire at the end of March. Yesterday’s announcement of funding over five years ensures these programs can continue. At a meeting on November 20, 2017 under the AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities, which commits federal cabinet ministers and First Nation representatives to meet three times a year, First Nations leaders cited the FNPP as an urgent priority. Participants spoke strongly about the need to support the programs and recognize them as an essential service.

AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee, who holds the Justice Portfolio for the AFN, stated: “Yesterday’s announcement is an important recognition of the role First Nations police forces play in our communities. First Nations police forces must be fully supported and expanded; it is an essential service for all Canadians and First Nations peoples. Improving security and policing in First Nations communities will benefit everyone. We welcome yesterday’s announcement and look forward to working together on the next steps.”

There are a number of AFN national resolutions calling for action to support First Nations police officers and police services. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale yesterday announced that Canada will be investing up to $189.2 million in funding over five years and ongoing, beginning in 2018-2019, in addition to budget 2017’s commitment of $102 million to policing in Indigenous communities over five years. The Minister also committed to examining ways to improve the effectiveness of the FNPP.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates. 

―30―

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckInvestment in First Nations Policing Welcome Move for First Nation Families and Safety, AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says

Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Hockey Hall of Fame Honouring the Sagkeeng Oldtimers First Nations Hockey Team

on January 12, 2018

January 11, 2018 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart welcomed the recognition of the Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team by the Hockey Hall of Fame at a ceremony that took place Tuesday January 9 in Toronto. The team was made up largely of residential school survivors from Manitoba.

“I congratulate all those players who were part of the groundbreaking Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team on this important recognition,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is a fascinating story of courage, strength and healing that deserves to be shared with all Canadians. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for governments, sports halls of fame and other organizations to work with Indigenous peoples to provide public education about Indigenous athletes. I lift up the Hockey Hall of Fame for understanding that the Sagkeeng Oldtimers are part of the story of hockey in Canada, and part of the story of Canada itself. This is an example of reconciliation in action, and a tremendous way for Canadians to learn more about our history.”

For a period of over 20 years, starting in 1978, the Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team travelled and competed nationally and internationally in many hockey tournaments. Walter and Verna Fontaine, who had attended the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School in Manitoba in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, were the founders and fundraisers of the Sagkeeng Oldtimers. Members of the team included former AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, former AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Ken Young and current Treaty 6 Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart stated, “This hockey team is a jewel of Manitoba sports history. These men dedicated themselves to a sport they love and were able to travel the world. Playing, practicing and traveling together helped them bond together in a positive spirit, and helped in dealing with the traumatic impacts of residential school. They are role models for our youth and our athletes. I congratulate them and look forward to seeing this showcase in the near future.”

The Sagkeeng Oldtimers were honoured on Tuesday January 9 with a ceremony and a showcase of artifacts in the New Acquisition display area within Canada’s national Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

―30―

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Welcomes Hockey Hall of Fame Honouring the Sagkeeng Oldtimers First Nations Hockey Team

AFN BULLETIN – Report on the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 2017

on December 20, 2017

AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 5-7, Ottawa, Ontario


Almost 1,500 Chiefs, Elders, youth and other delegates attended the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) in Ottawa, Ontario held December 5 – 7. First Nations gathered under the theme “Our Languages, Our Land, our Future” to discuss key priorities and set direction for the coming year. Issues and challenges were identified, along with areas where there is momentum and progress. This Bulletin provides an overview of key areas of discussion.

First Nations languages have been a priority for many years. Delegates discussed the work to co-develop an Indigenous Languages Act, announced in 2016, that aims to ensure First Nations languages are recovered, revitalized and restored. The AFN held a series of regional Engagement Sessions that will guide its work, and the AFN will ensure the federal government fulfills its duty to engage properly and respectfully with First Nations. The goal is to have the legislation in place sometime in 2018.

First Nations education is an area where significant progress is underway. First Nations are working with federal counterparts on a Memorandum to Cabinet to unlock more than $650 million in funding for First Nations students, schools and education systems. The approach is based on First Nations control of First Nations education, and respect for First Nations rights, jurisdiction and Treaties. First Nations will be able to organize themselves in any way that works best for them to receive this funding. It is clear that First Nation governments will receive more funding to support First Nations education in 2018. Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott affirmed publicly that education is a Treaty right, something First Nations have always known, but it’s the first time a federal cabinet minister has publicly acknowledged this reality.

First Nations are calling for action to address the situation of children in care, a situation Minister Philpott admitted is a “humanitarian crisis”. Minister Philpott committed publicly in her remarks to the Assembly that the next federal budget will close the gap in funding for First Nations child welfare. First Nations have been strongly pushing for this, and AFN held a National Day of Action on First Nation Child Welfare in November. The Minister’s commitment is long overdue, especially in light of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in response to the complaint brought forward by the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, but it is welcome news for our children.

The work continues on a New Fiscal Relationship to ensure long-term sufficient, predictable, sustainable funding for First Nation governments. This is important work as it will allow First Nations governments to move away from yearly, unpredictable funding agreements with multiple departments and get into longer-term funding arrangements that will allow for stability, predictability and strategic planning. The overall goal is healthy, secure communities and strong First Nation governments to set the foundation for Nation re-building.

First Nations Policing is an urgent priority. The AFN position is that First Nations police forces must be deemed an essential service and be supported and funded, at minimum, on par with other police forces in Canada. Many policing agreements will sunset at the end of March 2018 so it’s critical to get new agreements and funding in place now. The AFN Quebec-Labrador region held a press conference on this issue during the Assembly and the AFN has a national resolution from the 2017 AGA supporting this approach. The AFN will continue to keep up the pressure to support First Nations policing. This is about safety and the security for First Nations police officers and for First Nations families and communities as well.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould informed the Assembly that the federal government will support Bill C-262, a private member’s bill put forward by NDP MP Romeo Saganash to implement the United Nations Declaration in Canadian law. She announced the federal government’s intention to work with First Nations on the co-development of a National Action Plan to support its implementation. More information is coming on this important work. First Nations will be able to comment on Bill C-262 and put forward recommendations as it moves through the parliamentary process.

There has been a great deal of work on First Nations Housing and Infrastructure. There is a clear need to address the legacies of colonization, the barriers under the Indian Act and the lost opportunities resulting from top-down federal approaches. Reform is needed towards First Nations-driven options and approaches. A resolution was passed supporting a Draft Policy Reform Framework Toward a First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, co-developed by the Joint Housing and Infrastructure Working Group. This Framework will lay the groundwork for fundamental reform, including draft options for consideration to ensure the Framework reflects First Nations perspectives and the transition to First Nations care and control of housing and infrastructure. The intention is to have the Policy Reform Framework included as an Annex to INAC’s Memorandum to Cabinet to ensure the federal cabinet understands the First Nations view and vision.

On the final day of the SCA, Chief Commissioner Marion Buller of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls addressed the Assembly to provide an update on the Inquiry’s work. First Nations remain committed to action and the need for an inquiry, but many were not convinced that the Inquiry is embracing a true “families first” approach and the changes set out in the resolution from the 2017 AFN AGA. Family members were provided much time to speak and many expressed deep frustration and hurt, and were critical of the Inquiry.

There were many powerful and moving moments at the Assembly. This included the signing of a protocol with the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador to support their fight in holding Chevron Corporation accountable for damages to their peoples and their traditional territories, and ongoing violations of Indigenous rights. Domingo Paes from Ecuador addressed the Assembly in Spanish, thanking the AFN for its support. National Chief Bellegarde stated: “Any violation of Indigenous rights is a violation against all Indigenous peoples. …We stand with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador in calling for full respect for Indigenous peoples, their rights and traditional territories.”

A number of resolutions providing direction and support were passed during the 2017 AFN SCA. Resolutions will be posted on the AFN website the week of December 18.

Meeting between Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Human Rights and National Indigenous Organizations – December 11, 2017

On December 11, leaders of the national Indigenous organizations – the AFN, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council – attended a meeting of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Human Rights. This was the first meeting of Ministers responsible for human rights since 1988.

AFN National Chief Bellegarde conveyed a strong message about the need for all jurisdictions to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that all governments have a role in this work. The National Chief stated that governments must work with First Nations on a national action plan to implement the Declaration. The National Chief called for action on First Nations child welfare across all jurisdictions and to do so in a way that acknowledges the link between the child welfare crisis and the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in conflict with the legal system. The National Chief called on all members to support the recommendation that Canada conduct a formal review of the findings and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s August 2017 report Concluding Observations on Canada, and to do so in a cooperative and transparent manner, working in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

Going forward, there is a need for full inclusion of Indigenous peoples and leadership in these meetings. The National Chief’s Opening Remarks are available on the AFN website.

Happy Holidays!

The AFN wants to thank all those who attended the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly and related events. We offer our best wishes to you for a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to our ongoing work in the New Year!

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN BULLETIN – Report on the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 2017

National Water Symposium and Trade Show 2018

on December 14, 2017

Reconciliation Through
Sustainable Water Management

Access to safe water and proper sanitation is a human right. Most importantly it is our inherent right to the use and protection of our waters and lands. The protection of water and all living beings that depend on it is the sacred responsibility entrusted to us by the Creator. First Nations have called for the repeal of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and the Assembly of First Nations now has the opportunity to facilitate discussion with First Nations in conceptualizing, elaborating, designing and implementing a re-envisioned engagement process for the review of the current Act. This Symposium will be the beginning of that dialogue and will seek input on how that should be accomplished.

February 6-8, 2018 ~ Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W. Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC

Registration Package

Download

Registration

To facilitate registration, all participants and groups are encouraged to pre-register and pre-pay.

Register and check in for the Symposium at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver, on Monday, February 5, 2018, between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM to be eligible for a great prize.

Register On-line Registration Form

Registration forms and payment must be received by January 26, 2018.  An administration fee of $50.00 will apply for all cancellations prior to January 19, 2018; registration fees are non-refundable after January 19, 2018.

Please make cheques payable to the National Indian Brotherhood. Payments and registration forms should be submitted to the attention of Tash Cote, Registration Coordinator, National Water Symposium, assembly of First Nations, by mail to 55 Metcalfe Street, 16th Floor, ottawa, ON, K1P 6l5, by fax to 613-241-5808 or email to tcote@afn.ca.

Fees

$224 ($200 plus applicable taxes) First Nation Delegate Registration Fee
$560 ($500 plus applicable taxes) Corporate/Government Official Delegate Registration Fee

Please contact Tash Cote at 613-241-6789, ext. 274  with any questions regarding registration.

Accomodations

HOST HOTEL: FAIRMONT HOTEL VANCOUVER

Our host hotel for the Symposium is the Fairmont hotel Vancouver at 900 W. Georgia Street.  The rate is $199/night plus applicable taxes.

Reservations:
Call Fairmont Reservations
Phone: 1-800-441-1414
Block Code: 0218AFNW
Online:  https://aws.passkey.com/event/49559911/owner/2071/home

Deadline: Room Rate available only until Friday, January 19, 2018

Trade Show

Please note that there are a limited number of trade Show booths available for the Symposium. The registration fee for a trade Show booth is $1,344.00. To obtain a registration form or more information on the trade Show, please contact Larry Whiteduck by phone at 613.241.6789, ext. 237 or by email at lwhiteduck@afn.ca.

Exhibitor Booth Fee: $1,344.00 (includes applicable taxes)

Includes:

  • One (1) booth space
  • One (1) table and two (2) chairs
  • Two (2) registration passes
Registration Form

Travel Discounts

There are some discounts that can be accessed on air Canada and Westjet airlines. For the applicable codes, please email your request to our Symposium email address at 2018watersymposium@afn.ca.

*The average cost for a Taxi (one way) from the Ottawa Airport to the Hilton Casino Lac-Leamy is $45.00.*

Event Information
Thank you for choosing Air Canada as the official airline for your event, First Nations Directors of Education Forum, which will be held February 20 to 22, 2018

This a promotion code for the convention product. To book a flight with your promotion code, access aircanada.com and enter your promotion code in the search panel.

Promotion Code
Your promotion code: 8FQHMX91

Applicable Rules
• The booking is to be made to the following city: Ottawa, YOW (ON)
• The travel period begins February 19 2018 and ends February 23 2018.
• No discount will apply to Tango bookings for travel within Canada or between Canada and the U.S.

**************************************************

WestJet
Thank you for choosing WestJet for your travel needs. WestJet is pleased to offer you a 10% discount on applicable fares by utilizing coupon code UFUHOA5 with our simple online booking process. The discount is valid across WestJet’s extensive network for flights in to and out of Ottawa.

Booking details
To book reservations using this discount code, please advise your delegates and attendees to visit www.westjet.com; travel agents may visit www.westjet.com/agentweblink to book. Please note the following information for booking your flight online:

– Coupon code must be entered at the time of booking – on the first step of a reservation using the Book a flight widget on westjet.com.
– The 10% discount applies to all of our fare products, Econo, Flex and Plus on our entire flight network.
– The percentage-based discount is applied to the base fare only. Taxes, fees and charges are extra.
– The discount applies to the following travel period: February 19th 2018 to February 23rd 2018
– The discount only applies to flights marketed and operated wholly by WestJet, and is not applicable when travelling with our code-share, interline or other airline partners.

**************************************************

Porter
Porter Airlines is proud to offer a discount on available base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) for travel to and from Ottawa. The discounted fares are available for travel from February 19th to 23th 2018.

Please book online at www.flyporter.com or through your travel agent using promo code AFN13.

***************************************************

Via Rail Canada
This will confirm VIA Rail Canada’s participation as a major ground transportation company for your “First Nations Directors of Education Forum”

We are pleased to be a participant and would like to thank you for including VIA Rail Canada.

The following are the details pertaining to your conference fare:

VALID: February 19th to 23rd 2018
TERRITORY: From all stations throughout the VIA system to Ottawa, Ontario and return.
RESTRICTIONS: Fare applies to a maximum of two passengers per booking.
DISCOUNT: 5% off the best available fare in Economy, Economy Plus, Business, Business Plus, Sleeper, or Sleeper Plus class. “Subject to the conditions and restrictions of the fare plan to which the additional discount is being applied.”
EXCEPTION: Discount does not apply in any Escape Class fares.
IDENTIFICATION: Participants must reference the Assembly of First Nations’ VIA corporate discount code: 810994.

*The average cost for a Taxi (one way) from the Ottawa Airport to the Hilton Casino Lac-Leamy is $45.00.*

Event Information
Thank you for choosing Air Canada as the official airline for your event, First Nations Directors of Education Forum, which will be held February 20 to 22, 2018

This a promotion code for the convention product. To book a flight with your promotion code, access aircanada.com and enter your promotion code in the search panel.

Promotion Code
Your promotion code: 8FQHMX91

Applicable Rules
• The booking is to be made to the following city: Ottawa, YOW (ON)
• The travel period begins February 19 2018 and ends February 23 2018.
• No discount will apply to Tango bookings for travel within Canada or between Canada and the U.S.

**************************************************

WestJet
Thank you for choosing WestJet for your travel needs. WestJet is pleased to offer you a 10% discount on applicable fares by utilizing coupon code UFUHOA5 with our simple online booking process. The discount is valid across WestJet’s extensive network for flights in to and out of Ottawa.

Booking details
To book reservations using this discount code, please advise your delegates and attendees to visit www.westjet.com; travel agents may visit www.westjet.com/agentweblink to book. Please note the following information for booking your flight online:

– Coupon code must be entered at the time of booking – on the first step of a reservation using the Book a flight widget on westjet.com.
– The 10% discount applies to all of our fare products, Econo, Flex and Plus on our entire flight network.
– The percentage-based discount is applied to the base fare only. Taxes, fees and charges are extra.
– The discount applies to the following travel period: February 19th 2018 to February 23rd 2018
– The discount only applies to flights marketed and operated wholly by WestJet, and is not applicable when travelling with our code-share, interline or other airline partners.

**************************************************

Porter
Porter Airlines is proud to offer a discount on available base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) for travel to and from Ottawa. The discounted fares are available for travel from February 19th to 23th 2018.

Please book online at www.flyporter.com or through your travel agent using promo code AFN13.

***************************************************

Via Rail Canada
This will confirm VIA Rail Canada’s participation as a major ground transportation company for your “First Nations Directors of Education Forum”

We are pleased to be a participant and would like to thank you for including VIA Rail Canada.

The following are the details pertaining to your conference fare:

VALID: February 19th to 23rd 2018
TERRITORY: From all stations throughout the VIA system to Ottawa, Ontario and return.
RESTRICTIONS: Fare applies to a maximum of two passengers per booking.
DISCOUNT: 5% off the best available fare in Economy, Economy Plus, Business, Business Plus, Sleeper, or Sleeper Plus class. “Subject to the conditions and restrictions of the fare plan to which the additional discount is being applied.”
EXCEPTION: Discount does not apply in any Escape Class fares.
IDENTIFICATION: Participants must reference the Assembly of First Nations’ VIA corporate discount code: 810994.

Call for Presenters

Symposium attendees will include: First Nations leadership from across Canada; water technicians, Public Works department staff, other infrastructure technicians from First Nation communities; and, Consultants, Government officials and non-governmental entities with an interest in First Nation water issues.

Submission Deadline:  January 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Learn More

Sponsors

As part of the event, the AFN is hosting a Trade Show, which is an excellent opportunity to showcase your innovative products and interact with First Nation leadership, administrators, public works technicians, non-governmental organizations, government departments, and businesses from across Canada.

PLATINUM $25,000
GOLD $15,000
SILVER $10,000

Learn More

If you are interested in being a corporate sponsor for the AFN National Water Symposium and Trade Show, please send an email outlining your interest to: 2018watersymposium@afn.ca

Contacts

Registration Information
Tash Cote
Telephone: (613) 241-6789
Ext. 274
Fax: (613) 241-5808
E-mail: tcote@afn.ca

General Inquiries
E-mail: 2018watersymposium@afn.ca
Phone: 1-866-869-6789

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Angie TurnerNational Water Symposium and Trade Show 2018

Site C Dam Decision “Disappointing and Completely Contrary to Reconciliation” says AFN National Chief Bellegarde

on December 12, 2017

December 11, 2017 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today’s decision by B.C. Premier John Horgan to move forward with the Site C dam project is a major setback to reconciliation. First Nations will continue to work towards protection and prevention of the destruction of First Nations traditional territory.

“Today’s decision is disappointing,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “I am confident that First Nations will continue their efforts to stop Site C and the next step will be legal challenges. We have rights in our traditional territories and, just as important, we have responsibilities to those traditional territories – to protect them, maintain them and sustain them. If this project proceeds it will devastate traditional territories and sacred sites. The B.C. NDP government pledged to work towards reconciliation and this decision is completely contrary to that. We will ensure governments respect our peoples, our rights and our lands. I commend the people of Treaty 8 for their action and advocacy against Site C and we stand with them as they continue this fight.”

The AFN and National Chief Bellegarde have a longstanding position opposing the proposed Site C dam. On October 22, 2016, National Chief Bellegarde along with leadership from the West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation toured the pristine Treaty 8 territory and the Peace River region. Over the years, Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the controversial hydroelectric project that would flood thousands of acres of their traditional territories and prevent them from exercising their rights.

There are a number of AFN resolutions calling for action to stop Site C, including AFN resolution 03/2010, resolution 41/2015 and resolution 71/2015. AFN resolutions can be found at: afn.ca/en/resolutions

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

―30―

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckSite C Dam Decision “Disappointing and Completely Contrary to Reconciliation” says AFN National Chief Bellegarde

NATIONAL CHIEF BULLETIN – AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding Meeting on Joint Priorities and UN Declaration Update

on December 11, 2017

On November 20th, a delegation that included members of the AFN Executive, First Nations Chiefs, regional leadership, Elders and myself met with federal cabinet ministers to discuss joint priorities. This meeting occurred under the AFN-Canada MOU on Joint Priorities, which calls for three meetings a year to assess progress on our shared priorities and confirm directions forward. These meetings provide an important opportunity to engage with the most senior federal ministers for open and constructive dialogue and to assess progress, identify obstacles and seek ways to advance our priorities.

The agenda, consistent with the MOU, included:

  • The work towards a co-developed Indigenous Languages Act;
  • Working in partnership on measures to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including legislation to support implementation and co-developing a National Action Plan;
  • Priorities for a joint policy review including the Comprehensive Claims Policy, Inherent Right Policy, Additions-to-Reserve Policy and Specific Claims Policy;
  • Action on the TRC Calls to Action;
  • Identifying priorities and measuring progress to close the socio-economic gap between First Nations and other Canadians, with a focus on First Nations education, First Nations child welfare, First Nations housing, water and infrastructure, and First Nations emergency management;
  • Joint work towards New Fiscal Relationships;
  • First Nations Policing and community safety issues affecting First Nations;

It was a productive meeting with the AFN setting out our positions consistent with AFN resolutions and direction from First Nations across the country. Some highlights and key information:

Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda opened the meeting with a prayer and welcomed us to their territory. AFN Elders Council Chair Elmer Courchene provided opening remarks as well, urging action for future generations by all those present at the meeting. I thank the Elders for their wisdom and guidance.

As Co-chair of the meeting with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, I identified our priorities and the need for immediate action and, where legislation is concerned, the need to get this done before the next election federal in October 2019.

On Languages, Heritage Minister Joly said Canada re-iterated Canada’s commitment to work with First Nations to co-develop content of legislation to support First Nations objectives to revitalize and recover our languages.

Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould spoke to work in her area on rights recognition. We impressed the importance of moving beyond policies and laws aimed at denial of our rights and towards recognition, implementation and enforcement of our rights, Treaties, title and jurisdiction. She stated First Nations must rightfully determine what will help advance self-determination, and said the government must get its house in order, as indicated by the recent INAC split, the full endorsement of the UN Declaration and the 10 guiding principles she gave to government departments.

The Justice Minister outlined four goals: set standards of conduct on recognition of rights which would include educating officials and guiding them through any new legislation or policy; align laws with the UN Declaration; establish mechanisms to support self-determination; establish mechanisms for accountability and transparency for the relationship.

Minister Wilson Raybould also spoke to the law and policy review, with myself and others clearly stating that First Nations must be directly involved in this work.

On implementation of the UN Declaration, the Minister indicated support for NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s Bill 262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She announced later that the Liberals would support the bill (see the next section).

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Bennett spoke to the TRC and said that two-thirds of the Calls to Action are moving forward, and that an Interim Council will soon be announced to fulfill four of the Calls to Action. She agrees with the need for joint work.

First Nations leadership took the opportunity to identify areas for investment throughout the discussions, especially important given that Finance Minister Morneau was at the meeting. The Finance Minister said the timing for the meeting was right because the government has started the federal budgeting process for 2018. He committed to working together with First Nations.

First Nations policing was a substantive topic for discussions with Public Safety Minister Goodale. Many participants spoke strongly of the need to strengthen and expand the programs to put them at par with other police services in the country in terms of salaries, equipment, technology and resources, and to recognize them as an essential service. Minister Goodale acknowledged that the program has not changed since it was first introduced in 1996 and that the budget hasn’t increased since 1999. First Nations emphasized the urgency for action given many agreements end in March 2018. The Minister stated he is aware of this. He is meeting with various parties and referenced the AFN resolution supporting First Nations policing. Minister Goodale said there are two key principles: the need for more resources, as noted; and the need to evolve from a temporary program that expires every few years to one that continues and is seen as an essential service.

On the urgent issue of closing the social and economic gap, Indigenous Services Minister Philpott said this can be addressed through rights recognition and respect, and meeting the minimum standards in the UN Declaration. She committed to attending our upcoming SCA in December to speak more on these matters. AFN Saskatchewan Regional Chief Cameron took the opportunity to inform those present that the work underway on First Nations education is and always will be based on protecting and upholding First Nations jurisdiction and Treaty rights, including our rights to education.

These are some of the key pieces of information from the meeting that I want to share with you. We can provide more information, and I encourage you to contact your Regional Chief or regional representative at the meeting for further information. The proposed date for the next meeting is March 21, 2018.

Justice Minister Announces Government Support for Bill C-262 to Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Following our meeting on November 21, Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced that the government will support Bill C-262, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by NDP MP Romeo Saganash. Bill C-262 seeks to ensure all Canadians laws are consistent with the UN Declaration and requires the federal government to create an action plan to implement the Declaration. The AFN Executive Committee has informed the Justice Minister many times that we support this bill and the path it provides for implementing the UN Declaration.

The bill will go through the government’s legislative process, which means First Nations will have the opportunity to provide input and comment on the Bill. I want to acknowledge and lift up MP Romeo Saganash for his determination, perseverance and strong stand for our peoples and our rights.

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Roy WhiteduckNATIONAL CHIEF BULLETIN – AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding Meeting on Joint Priorities and UN Declaration Update

Assembly of First Nations Lends Support to CONAIE and FDA Efforts to Hold Chevron Accountable for Environmental Damage in Ecuador

on December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – In a setback to Chevron Corporation’s campaign to evade a $9.5 billion liability owed to rainforest communities, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Ecuador signed a protocol today to hold the corporation accountable for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste and for ongoing violations of Indigenous rights.

The agreement was signed at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa by AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Jamie Vargas, the National Chief of Ecuador and the President of that country’s Indigenous federation, known as CONAIE, and Carmen Cartuche, the President of the Front for the Defense of the Amazon (FDA), the community-based organization in Ecuador’s Amazon region that brought a historic lawsuit against Chevron on behalf of Indigenous and farmer communities. The agreement is supported by a resolution passed unanimously by Chiefs-in-Assembly today.

“Any violation of Indigenous rights is a violation against all Indigenous peoples,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This protocol puts Chevron and all corporations on notice that we are watching and we will be vigilant in protecting our rights and our territories. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador in calling for full respect for Indigenous peoples, their rights and traditional territories.”

“This protocol is a profound step forward for Indigenous groups in both Ecuador and Canada to hold an irresponsible corporate polluter accountable for its actions in destroying Indigenous lands and cultures in the Amazon and around the world,” said Vargas, who is currently leading a national march of Indigenous groups in Ecuador to pressure the national government to respect First Nations territorial rights.

The protocol between the two national federations is potentially a major blow to Chevron’s efforts to evade the environmental liability, imposed by three layers of courts in Ecuador in 2013 after the company was found to be responsible for deliberately dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto Indigenous ancestral lands as a cost-saving measure. Cancer rates in the area have skyrocketed and the cultures of five Indigenous groups – Cofan, Secoya, Huaorani, Kichwa, and Siona – have been decimated, according to evidence before the Ecuador court.

Although Chevron had insisted the trial take place in Ecuador and had accepted jurisdiction there, the company later refused to pay the environmental judgment. The case is now in Canadian courts, where the affected communities have won three consecutive appellate decisions in their effort to seize Chevron assets to force the company to comply with the rule of law and pay the Ecuador judgment.

President Cartuche of the FDA, which has led the lawsuit against Chevron since it was filed in 1993, said, “We want to thank our Canadian brothers and sisters for standing with our communities in their historic struggle to hold Chevron accountable. We look forward to developing joint programs to ensure that Chevron pays a very heavy price for its crimes in Ecuador and for any violations of human rights no matter where they occur.”

The protocol grew out of an invitation issued by Ecuadorian Indigenous groups to their Canadian counterparts to visit the affected area in Ecuador, where Chevron abandoned roughly 1,000 unlined oil waste pits after operating in the country from 1964 to 1992. The protocol is an agreement by all parties to ensure Chevron respects Indigenous rights and territories in all its activities. Chevron has tried to obtain impunity in Canada by claiming its assets cannot be seized because they are held by a subsidiary even though it is wholly-owned by the company. That particular issue is scheduled for argument in April before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

In all, 21 appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada have rejected Chevron’s arguments and ruled in favor of various aspects of the claims of the Ecuadorian Indigenous groups. Not a single appellate judge in either of the two countries has sided with Chevron.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Lends Support to CONAIE and FDA Efforts to Hold Chevron Accountable for Environmental Damage in Ecuador
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