AFN Elders Council

AFN Annual Report 2012-13

Since the inception of the National Indian Brotherhood/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 34 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, as well as two Resident Elders appointed by the National Chief. The Elders Council continues to play an important role in all facets of the AFN and its daily 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.

Resident Elders Barney Taa-eee-sim-chilth Williams of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and Bertha Commonda of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation provided guidance and shared knowledge at meetings and gatherings throughout the year. Sadly, Elder Commonda returned to the spirit world on May 17, 2013. A mother, grandmother and teacher, Elder Commonda was a strong advocate for education as a foundation for success. Her commitment and dedication to her language and culture was a driving force and made a tremendous contribution to our work as a national organization. Her contributions to her community, and to all First Nations across the country will live on through all of our work as guided by her wisdom and vision for a better day for First Nations.

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.

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 Elders Council will continue to seek additional financial support 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 to support the activities of the Tri-Council.

Assembly of First Nations