AFN Elders Council

AFN Special Chiefs Assembly Update - December 2014

Since the inception of the National Indian Brotherhood and transition to the Assembly of First Nations, there has always been a place of honour and distinction for the Elders. Elders provided both spiritual and political guidance in the formation of the organization, its structures and its Charter. The Elders helped to shape AFN policies and the relationship with the federal government and other national and international organizations. During the past 35 years, the AFN’s leadership has relied upon the historical and cultural knowledge of its Elders, especially in matters relating to Treaty rights and First Nation governance.

This role continues today. The AFN Elders Council includes representatives from each of AFN’s 10 regions. The Elders Council continues to play an important role in all facets of the AFN and its operations.

Key Issues and Activities

The AFN Elders Council continues to meet bi-annually at Annual General Assemblies and Special Chiefs Assemblies to discuss issues and challenges facing the Council and to bring together new ideas.

The AFN Elders Council is imperative in the day-to-day business of our lives. They are the keepers of our traditions, values, languages and history. Elders are our guides to our future. They are leaders in our community; they speak with honour and with a great deal of pride. Elders are our teachers. The Elders will always encourage First Nation leaders and champions to continue to enlighten and inform forums such as the Chiefs Assemblies on their experiences, issues, successes and challenges. It is all of our responsibilities to ensure prosperity and the safety of the little ones, just as our ancestors did for us. The AFN continues efforts to acquire funds to fully integrate the input and participation of the Elders Council into all work.

At the July 2014 Annual General Assembly, the Elders Council agreed that the Elder from the host territory would hold the honour of chairing the council for the next year. This year, as there are Assemblies in both the Territory of the Mi’kmaq and the Anishinaabe in Manitoba, this honour is being shared. Elder Phyllis Googoo from Nova Scotia held this position following the Annual General Assembly in July, 2014. Elder Elmer Courchene will chair the council following the December Special Chiefs Assembly.

The Elders Council would like to express their gratitude to resident Elder Barney Taa-eee-sim-chilth Williams of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations for all of the guidance, wisdom and knowledge he provided to the council, AFN Executive and staff over the past five years.   

AFN Elders Council Guidelines and Protocols

The Elders Council continues to meet at Assemblies to discuss and review the “Assembly of First Nations Elders and Elders Council Guidelines and Protocols”.

AFN Tri-Council

The Elders Council continues to provide guidance and vision to AFN Tri-Council meetings with the Women’s and Youth Councils.

Next Steps - Moving Forward

  • The AFN will continue to seek additional funding for the Elders Council from the federal government and alternative sources, to ensure First Nations cultures and perspectives are reflected in the work conducted regionally and nationally. AFN staff will continue to provide administrative support, and champion the issues as directed by the Elders Council.
  • The Elders Council will continue provide guidance to the AFN Executive, staff and support the activities of the Tri-Council.

Assembly of First Nations