News

Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart Congratulates Treaty 1 First Nations for Agreement in Principle on Former Kapyong Barracks

on April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

(Winnipeg, MB) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart attended the April 10 announcement of the Agreement in Principle between Treaty 1 First Nations and the Government of Canada for the Kapyong Barracks land in Winnipeg, MB.

“I commend the leadership of Treaty 1 for their diligence and determination in pursuing this Agreement in Principle,” said Regional Chief Hart. “It took many years and there were times when they had to fight the federal government in court, but they stood strong and now we see their success. This is a positive outcome that benefits everyone, not just First Nations but the city and the province as well. We congratulate the leaders and citizens of Treaty 1 and stand with them as they continue their journey towards a Final Agreement.”

Kapyong Barrack in Winnipeg was abandoned in 2004 when the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry moved from the military base near Kenaston and Grant to the Canadian Forces Base in Shilo, Manitoba. The Canadian Forces then declared the site a surplus and the Federal Treasury Board tried to sell it to a Crown Corporation. This decision was challenged in court by Treaty 1 First Nations, stating it was outstanding Treaty Land Entitlement claims which meant they had the right to the site. Treaty 1 First nations prevailed and achieved the Agreement in Principle, and will now work towards a Final Agreement.

 

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

 

―30―

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
AFN Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart Congratulates Treaty 1 First Nations for Agreement in Principle on Former Kapyong Barracks

AFN BULLETIN – Meeting on AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities

on April 9, 2018

April 2018

The third meeting under the AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Priorities took place March 26, 2018. The MOU calls for regular meetings to discuss key issues and assess progress on shared priorities and is not a decision-making forum. These meetings provide an opportunity for AFN leadership to engage with senior federal cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries in open, constructive dialogue to advance First Nations priorities.

Following an opening prayer discussion proceeded on the jointly developed agenda:

  • Federal Budget 2018
  • Co-development of an Indigenous Languages Act
  • Closing the Gap: First Nations Child and Family Services, New Fiscal Relationship, First Nations Housing
  • Policy Review: Specific Claims Policy, Additions to Reserve Policy
  • Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework, Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Comprehensive Claims Policy, and Inherent Right to Self-Government Policy
  • Next Steps

This Bulletin provides some highlights and key information from the discussion.

On the federal budget, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde acknowledged that over the last three federal budgets provide investments of more than $16 Billion over 7 years for First Nations and Indigenous peoples. These unprecedented investments are a result of strong advocacy by the AFN under National Chief Bellegarde’s leadership. The National Chief stated the key is to get these resources to First Nations governments, communities and people effectively and efficiently so that they can make a real difference on the ground, in people’s lives. The resources provided to help close the gap in First Nations child welfare are welcome, though overdue.

Work on co-developing an Indigenous Languages Act is making progress. First Nations leadership called for more engagement. This is expected as part of the process, but it must be robust, comprehensive and reach the community level.

In the discussion around Closing the Gap Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) Minister Jane Philpott noted that funds for First Nations education will flow as a result of the current Memorandum to Cabinet process (see AFN Bulletin of November 2017, AFN Update on First Nations Education, available on the AFN website), including funding for First Nations language instruction on-reserve.

The Fiscal Relations work continues and has already resulted in helpful changes like the ability to carry over funding. Next steps include a move towards 10-year grants instead of unpredictable annual contribution agreements. There is potential for this to happen with some First Nation governments by April 2019. The National Chief wants the working table expanded to include Finance and Treasury Board.

On Housing, the ISC Minister noted the need for continued advocacy for more resources for First Nations housing. The Minister said that addressing First Nations housing needs requires not only more funding but also more support for innovation and First Nations-driven approaches. Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Ignace Gull spoke to the immediate need in his community for 350 homes, and issues around the land needed for housing.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart requested a detailed breakdown from the federal government on funding for First Nations child and family services, including amounts that will reach First Nations child welfare agencies directly. This information was not immediately available and there is a commitment to follow-up.

Regional Chief Kluane Adamek spoke about the need for an innovative approach to closing the gap in the North. She cited the Arctic Policy Framework as one current government initiative which has required a Northern distinctions-based approach.

First Nations policing was raised as an urgent matter, including the need for it to be deemed an essential service and funded as such. AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard stated that “public safety is an essential service” yet this does not seem to be the case for First Nations. The government was urged to finalize agreements with First Nations policing services before those agreements expire.

In the Legislative and Policy review discussion, the National Chief reiterated the need to reorient federal laws and policies so that they are based on rights recognition instead of termination. AFN Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras noted the variability in implementing and communicating policy changes in the regions and called for more consistent information from the federal government on changes to the Additions to Reserve Policy.

National Chief Bellegarde spoke to the government’s announcement in February 2018, about working with Indigenous peoples to create a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework. The National Chief stated concerns about the current approach to engagement, including a disconnect between the Prime Minister’s announcement and public information materials being used by the government.

The National Chief noted that timeframes the government has set for itself are very tight if the government is going to try to get legislation in place before the next election. The overriding priority must be getting this work right. It must not be rushed. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould put forward her thoughts on potential elements: legislation must confirm the standards of rights as the basis for all decisions; it must establish new mechanisms to recognize Indigenous governments’ jurisdiction – that where an Indigenous government brings forward a vision, Canada must honour it; new tools necessary to support this work, such as new institutions and new ways to resolve disputes and avoid litigation, which should include Indigenous approaches; and substantive transformation to the Inherent Rights Policy and Claims Policy.

AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day set out key areas for work, including Health transformation as a top priority for the ISC Minister. Regional Chief Day also spoke about the importance of Treaties and lands and resources.

The meeting closed with an agreement to identify a date for the next gathering.

The AFN is convening a Special Chiefs Assembly on May 1 & 2, 2018, in Gatineau, Quebec, to focus on federal legislation impacting First Nations. More information is available on the AFN website at www.afn.ca.

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN BULLETIN – Meeting on AFN-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities

Assembly of First Nations Supports Indigenous-Led Conservation in Canada, Report by Indigenous Circle of Experts Points the Way Forward

on April 6, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, together with Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, commend the work of the Indigenous Circle of Experts on the release of their report recommending changes in the way conservation areas in Canada are created and managed.

“This report’s recommendations provide an essential guide for all governments in respecting and asserting Indigenous rights and our responsibilities to the lands and waters,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “This report and its recommendations help point a way forward to partnerships that respect Indigenous peoples, governments, cultures and laws in ways that benefit all of us.”

The report, “We Rise Together – Achieving Pathway to Canada Target 1 through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in the spirit of practice and reconciliation”, explores the concept of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) and their contribution to conservation outcomes in Canada.  It was shared by the Indigenous Circle of Experts with federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in ceremony March 28, 2018.

The report includes 28 recommendations to support the establishment of IPCAs, including through the reconciliation of existing areas, appropriate recognition of Indigenous-led initiatives and the role of partners in this process. Recommendations include expanded and shared responsibilities between Indigenous and Crown governments for protected areas through appropriate recognition and support of IPCAs.  IPCAs prioritize the connection between a healthy environment and strong culture.

“Indigenous-led protected areas are part of the effort needed now to uphold our rights and environmental responsibilities and we urge the Government of Canada to work together with First Nations and other Indigenous governments to implement these recommendations,” said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, Co-Chair of the AFN’s Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment.

In addition to supporting overall conservation objectives, IPCAs will emphasize the primary leadership role of Indigenous governments and respect for Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems, support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, create opportunities for sustainable conservation economies, apply holistic approaches to governance and planning, and respect protocols and ceremony.

The report further outlines principles to support the efforts of governments to meet global biodiversity targets by respecting Indigenous rights, Treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous Circle of Experts is comprised of Indigenous experts and members from federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada, and includes representatives from the AFN.  It was created as part of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 to develop a report providing advice to federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments on how to achieve Canada Target 1 through the appropriate recognition of Indigenous leadership and knowledge systems in the conservation of the land and water.

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
Assembly of First Nations
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

 

read more
Angie TurnerAssembly of First Nations Supports Indigenous-Led Conservation in Canada, Report by Indigenous Circle of Experts Points the Way Forward

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on World Water Day 2018: “We Must Redouble Our Efforts to End all Drinking Water Advisories by 2021”

on March 22, 2018

March 22, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement today on World Water Day 2018 – Nature of Water, marked every year on March 22.

“Water is sacred for First Nations and key to a healthy environment and the health and well-being of all living things,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Yet too many First Nations are living at risk with no access to clean water. It affects our health, education and livelihood. This is unacceptable in a developed country like Canada. The federal government’s goal of ending all drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by 2021 is clearly a challenge, but we can achieve it by working together in a spirit of partnership and reconciliation. World Water Day is a time to reaffirm this goal and redouble our efforts.”

The United Nations states that 2.1 billion people in the world do not have safe drinking water in their homes. In Canada, as of March 5 there are 81 long-term drinking water advisories in 56 First Nation communities affecting 45,000 First Nations citizens who do not have access to safe drinking water.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the portfolio for Water, Housing and Infrastructure, said: “Access to clean water is a human right. We cannot wait any longer to address the question as to why we have so many existing and re-occurring drinking water advisories for our First Nations communities. The only way the federal government will achieve their commitments to end drinking water advisories by March 2021 is through significant investments in First Nation communities and by working with us to support capacity and innovation.”

Today marks the launch by the UN General Assembly of the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028. The Decade will focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources to achieve social, economic and environmental objectives, the implementation and promotion of related programs and projects, as well as furthering cooperation and partnership at all levels to help to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits to ensure everyone in the world has access to safe drinking water by 2030.

 

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

―30―

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on World Water Day 2018: “We Must Redouble Our Efforts to End all Drinking Water Advisories by 2021”

AFN Says International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination a Time for All Canadians to Commit to National Strategy to Combat Racism

on March 21, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, marked every year on March 21:

“Canada is embarking on a new era of reconciliation. This requires us all to confront hard truths about our shared history and our current reality. In recent weeks and months, many Canadians have witnessed incidents that show how the system and society is failing First Nations, our families and our children – from court rulings that deny justice for our peoples, to expressions of racism and intolerance by Senators and other officials, to hateful and harmful incidents in towns and cities across the country.

First Nations know this reality firsthand because it is our lived experience far too often. Our colonial past is holding us back. But together we can make the changes needed to overcome it and move forward.

I believe that education and awareness lead to understanding and action. I believe more and more Canadians are standing with First Nations and standing up for justice. We can build on this understanding and momentum.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I am calling on all levels of government to commit to working with First Nations to develop a national strategy to address racism in Canada.

The federal government can show leadership by driving this initiative and taking a hard look at its own laws, policies and institutions, and working with First Nations to set in place a new foundation of rights, respect and recognition. They can support other governments in doing the same. Provincial governments can work with First Nations and Indigenous peoples to build bridges and plans for action. Municipalities can work with our people in urban areas on strategies that make a real difference on the ground and in the streets.

It’s encouraging that this kind of work is already happening in some places. Let’s support success and create a stronger country for all of us. When First Nations succeed, Canada succeeds. We can eliminate racism and embark on a new era of reconciliation.”

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21. This year’s theme is “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.”

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)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

 

 

read more
Angie TurnerAFN Says International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination a Time for All Canadians to Commit to National Strategy to Combat Racism

Assembly of First Nations Offers Condolences, Remembers Justa Monk

on March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today offers condolences to the family, friends and community of Justa Monk who passed away March 14 in his home community of Tl’azt’en Nation near Prince George, B.C.

“Today we remember Justa Monk, his strong leadership and passion for all his work grounded in First Nations rights, governance and the Dakelh language and traditions,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “Justa made significant contributions to Tl’azt’en Nation, the Dakelh Territory, British Columbia and all First Nations through his work in many leadership roles as band manager, Chief, Tribal Chief, and First Nations Summit Executive member.  We offer condolences to his family, friends and nation. He will be missed.”

Justa Monk was the first ever Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and held this position from 1981 to 1983 and then again from 1990 to 1994.  He later acted as advisor to the Tribal Council and served on the executive of the First Nations Summit. As band manager and Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation, he achieved clean drinking water, electricity and improved roads.

Justa Monk chronicled his life story, including his time at residential school, his work in the forest industry and his leadership roles and efforts, in a biography written with Bridget Moran and published in 1994. Justa Monk was 75.

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

 

―30―

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or [email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Offers Condolences, Remembers Justa Monk

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: Regional Health Survey Results Will Help Identify Ways to Close the Gap for First Nations

on March 16, 2018

March 14, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that the release of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) Regional Health Survey (RHS) Phase 3, Volume 1 provides valuable information on the health and well-being of First Nations people living on reserve and in northern communities.

“The survey results released today by the FNIGC provides insight on the challenges facing First Nations as well as areas where we’re seeing progress,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “I am particularly encouraged by some of the positive changes for First Nations youth, including enhanced educational outcomes and evidence of healthy behaviors. We know there is still a lot of work to do. We need to assess the findings to see what is working and where we can make investments that improve the lives of our people and help close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”

Among many other findings, the RHS 3, Volume 1 released today indicates that more youth are abstaining from alcohol and that there is a significant decrease in smoking on a daily basis. The data also shows higher education attainment and employment rates for First Nations adults. The study does show more work is needed to reduce the incidence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and support is needed for continued healing initiatives to address inter-generational effects of residential schools.

The RHS is the first and only national health survey created, conducted and carried out by First Nations people for First Nations people. The RHS 3, Volume 1 is the most recent phase with data collection beginning in April 2015 and concluding 18 months later with 23,764 completed surveys across 253 First Nations communities. Volume 2 of the RHS 3 is expected to be released in July 2018.

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

―30―

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: Regional Health Survey Results Will Help Identify Ways to Close the Gap for First Nations

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: Regional Health Survey Results Will Help Identify Ways to Close the Gap for First Nations

on March 14, 2018

March 14, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that the release of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) Regional Health Survey (RHS) Phase 3, Volume 1 provides valuable information on the health and well-being of First Nations people living on reserve and in northern communities.

“The survey results released today by the FNIGC provides insight on the challenges facing First Nations as well as areas where we’re seeing progress,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “I am particularly encouraged by some of the positive changes for First Nations youth, including enhanced educational outcomes and evidence of healthy behaviors. We know there is still a lot of work to do. We need to assess the findings to see what is working and where we can make investments that improve the lives of our people and help close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”

Among many other findings, the RHS 3, Volume 1 released today indicates that more youth are abstaining from alcohol and that there is a significant decrease in smoking on a daily basis. The data also shows higher education attainment and employment rates for First Nations adults. The study does show more work is needed to reduce the incidence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and support is needed for continued healing initiatives to address inter-generational effects of residential schools.

The RHS is the first and only national health survey created, conducted and carried out by First Nations people for First Nations people. The RHS 3, Volume 1 is the most recent phase with data collection beginning in April 2015 and concluding 18 months later with 23,764 completed surveys across 253 First Nations communities. Volume 2 of the RHS 3 is expected to be released in July 2018.

 

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

 

―30―

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: Regional Health Survey Results Will Help Identify Ways to Close the Gap for First Nations

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Decision Not to Appeal Boushie Verdict and RCMP Investigation Review: “Canada’s Justice System Continues to Fail First Nations”

on March 8, 2018

March 7, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the Saskatchewan Crown Prosecutor that there will be no appeal of the verdict in the trial on the death of Colten Boushie, which comes only a day after the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) announced that it will review the RCMP’s handling of the Colten Boushie investigation:

“Today’s announcement that there will be no appeal is another devastating blow to the family of Colten Boushie, and yet another indication to First Nations that Canada’s justice system is failing them – that it is a system that is not, in fact, providing justice.

The CRCC review is important because a young man needlessly, senselessly lost his life. But the review is only one step in a larger, broader process that affects all of us. I said when the verdict was first released that this case clearly spells out the need for governments at all levels to work with First Nations to develop a national strategy to address racism in Canada.

Seeing justice denied affects everyone. This specific case exposed with glaring clarity some ugly aspects of racism and ignorance. We are deluding ourselves if we think that’s not the case. The broader issues of racism and the failures of the overall justice system are precisely why this review must be one step in a process that becomes an actionable national strategy. First Nations will not stand for injustice and Canadians should not stand for it either.”

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
Assembly of First Nations
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Decision Not to Appeal Boushie Verdict and RCMP Investigation Review: “Canada’s Justice System Continues to Fail First Nations”

AFN Supports Extension of National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

on March 7, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Women’s Council Chair Chief Denise Stonefish released the below statement regarding the request to extend the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“The Assembly of First Nations supports the extension of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In order to create the needed results, the National Inquiry must take a ‘families first’ approach and be granted the extension. To do less than this means that the safety and security of First Nations is not the priority it was intended to be when the National Inquiry was launched. If the federal government wants to truly stand with survivors and their families and support the journey toward healing and reconciliation, then it has to extend the National Inquiry, while accommodating any changes required to ensure the prevention of violence and the support of all families at risk.”

– Chief Denise Stonefish,
Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council

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
Assembly of First Nations
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
[email protected]

read more
Angie TurnerAFN Supports Extension of National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Assembly of First Nations
    ×