News

The Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee Calls for Apology from Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal for Offensive Headline

on March 1, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) — The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Executive Committee calls for an apology from Thunder Bay daily newspaper, The Chronicle Journal, for an offensive front page headline, and the AFN Ontario Regional Chief is seeking an immediate editorial board meeting to discuss this matter, and their ongoing coverage of First Nations. As of the time this press release was issued, the Chronicle Journal refused requests for an editorial board meeting.

“Today’s front page headline in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal is offensive and insensitive, particularly in a city that should be working towards healing and reconciliation between First Nation and non-Indigenous citizens,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

The March 1 edition of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal featured an above the fold headline stating “Egg-toss incidents have police scrambling”. The story involved two men who had eggs thrown at them from a passing vehicle, with the perpetrators allegedly yelling racist insults about First Nations people at the victims. One of the individuals had to be taken away by ambulance.

“My request for an editorial board meeting with the Chronicle Journal to discuss this headline and their ongoing, poor coverage of First Nations people and issues has been denied,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “AFN Regional Chiefs from across Canada are meeting in Ottawa today as part of our regular work. This morning we were focused on recent court decisions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba that underscore the need for action to reduce and eliminate discrimination and racism against First Nations peoples.  We all have a role to play in reconciliation, including media.  This sort of insensitive headline only serves to fan the flames of racism and increase fears for the safety and security of our peoples. We call for an immediate front page apology and concrete measures to ensure better and appropriate copy-editing.”

“We stand in solidarity with First Nations citizens, leadership and many non-Indigenous Canadians in Thunder Bay and across the country in demanding better. Our colleague from Manitoba, Regional Chief Kevin Hart, had just finished speaking about recent racist incidents that First Nation individuals from Manitoba had experienced when visiting Thunder Bay. People driving by were allegedly shouting ’Colten Boushie’ and ’Tina Fontaine’ while laughing and whooping. In this era of reconciliation, it still feels like far too many Canadians are living in the dark ages of ignorance and outright hatred towards the Original Peoples of these lands.  Racist headlines do nothing for all the good efforts toward reconciliation and further set all of us back.”

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
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

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

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
poirierm@afn.ca

For the Chiefs of Ontario:

Bryan Hendry
Chiefs of Ontario
Senior Advisor
Policy and Strategic Communications
613-863-1764

read more
Angie TurnerThe Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee Calls for Apology from Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal for Offensive Headline

AFN BULLETIN – 2018 Federal Budget

on February 28, 2018

February 2018

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the federal budget speech in the House of Commons on February 27, 2018. The federal budget reflects the priorities and future direction of the federal government. For this reason, National Chief Perry Bellegarde AFN representatives and officials work to ensure there are sustained efforts and influence on the federal budget. This includes meetings and engagement with cabinet members and senior government officials, and public advocacy.

Along with these activities, the AFN participated in the parliamentary pre-budget submission process and submitted a chapter for the Alternative Federal Budget, released publicly in advance of each budget by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. All these efforts are aimed at informing the general public of First Nations priorities and building support for those priorities. On budget day, National Chief Bellegarde was in the gallery of the House of Commons to hear the speech.

Budget 2018 includes a total investment of $4.76 billion over five years for Indigenous peoples and communities. This represents a running total of $16.6 billion in investments in the past three budgets.

First Nations have successfully advocated for strategic and sustained investments that support the movement toward First Nations self-determination and self-government. Commitments made in this budget mark three years of solid response by government.

Budget highlights include:

  • $411 million in 2018-19 to help address the shortfall in funding for First Nations child welfare (total $1.4 billion over 6 years).
  • $1.5 billion over 5 years for health, which includes $498 million and $97.6 million ongoing for critical care; $200 million with $40 million ongoing for addictions; $235 million for transformation to self-determined health systems; $490 million over 2 years for NIHB.
  • $600 million over 3 years to support a 10 year housing strategy that is in development.
  • $172.6 million over 3 years for investments in water and wastewater.
  • $2 billion over 5 years and $408 million ongoing for the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS, formerly ASETS).
  • $101.5 million over 5 years for capacity building to help First Nations build strong governments and rebuild nations.
  • For additional details on investments and investment areas please see the attached chart.

This budget includes an important and overdue response to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling on child welfare, and the initial funding shortfall that led to the launch of the human rights complaint by the AFN and the Caring Society in 2007. Investments to protect and support First Nations children and maintain healthy First Nations families set a solid foundation for the future. Long-term investments in First Nations governments and infrastructure set a strong foundation for rebuilding our nations and mark continual movement in the right direction.

We know the needs are great. Closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians requires continued strategic investments. The AFN will continue to use all avenues to push for positive change based on First Nations plans and priorities.

The attached chart provides additional detail and breakdown of investments. The AFN is doing a thorough analysis of Federal Budget 2018. We will make more information available in the coming days and weeks.

Budget 2018 Investment Areas

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN BULLETIN – 2018 Federal Budget

Budget 2018 Makes Essential Investments in First Nations Children and Investments to Strengthen First Nations Governments

on February 28, 2018

February 27, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s federal budget marks the third year of continued, sustained investment in First Nations. These investments provide greater safety and security for First Nations children, healthier communities for First Nations families and stronger First Nations governments, which help close the socioeconomic gap between First Nations and Canadians and build a stronger country for everyone.

“Budget 2018 sets out important and overdue investments that will help protect First Nations children and keep them with their families and in healthy homes,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The investments in our children set a solid foundation for our future, and the long-term investments in First Nations governments and infrastructure sets a strong foundation for re-building our nations. This is continual movement in the right direction.  Investing in First Nations is an investment in the shared future of Canada.”

National Chief Bellegarde noted that First Nations successfully advocated for $11.8 Billion over 6 years in the past two federal budgets.  An additional $4.75 Billion over 5 years allocated in today’s budget totals $16.5 Billion over 7 years. The budget invests in areas like health, housing, water, sports and recreation.  In a welcome and overdue move, the 2018 budget sets out $411 Million this year to help address the shortfall in funding for First Nations child welfare.  This initial shortfall led to the 2007 human rights complaint against Canada by the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the 2016 decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

“This is a good day and an important day for First Nations children and a good day for our families,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We know the needs are great and that’s why we pressed for, and will continue to press for sustained, strategic investments. The ongoing investments that support the movement toward First Nations self-determination and self-government is the right way forward.”

The AFN participated in the pre-budget submission process, detailing areas that require investments.

The AFN submitted a chapter in the alternative federal budget available here: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/afb2018

 

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)
jamiem@afn.ca

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

 

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
poirierm@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckBudget 2018 Makes Essential Investments in First Nations Children and Investments to Strengthen First Nations Governments

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Newly Elected AFN Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras

on February 23, 2018

February 23, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today congratulated the new AFN Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras, elected in Enoch First Nation on February 22, 2018.

“I congratulate AFN Alberta Regional Chief Poitras on behalf of the entire AFN Executive Committee,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “I look forward to working with Regional Chief Poitras, who is a strong advocate for First Nations rights and Treaty rights. Mrs. Poitras has spent most of her career working with First Nations and the broader Indigenous community across Canada and internationally. We look forward to her important contributions as a member of the AFN Executive Committee.”

Regional Chief Poitras is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Treaty 8 territory.  She was recently reappointed to the First Nations Women’s Council on Economic Security, an Advisory Group to the Government of Alberta. She is also a recipient of the 2015 Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Humanitarian Award.

 

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)
jamiem@afn.ca

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
poirierm@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Newly Elected AFN Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras

Broken Systems Failed Tina Fontaine – Murder Trial Verdict Another Severe Setback for Justice and Reconciliation

on February 23, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s verdict finding Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine is a shock and another profound disappointment for First Nations across the country, and a severe setback for justice and reconciliation in Canada.

“With this verdict we see yet another young First Nations woman failed by the child welfare system, failed by the police, and now failed by the courts,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “We stand with Tina Fontaine’s family and friends as they seek justice and healing. First Nations demand immediate changes to a system that allows our young people to die without justice. This verdict is a severe setback for justice and reconciliation in this country. Reconciliation cannot be simply about words – it has to be about action, about valuing the lives of Indigenous people, and keeping Indigenous women and girls safe.”

Raymond Cormier pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the August 2014 death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine from Sagkeeng First Nation. Closing arguments concluded February 20 with directions to the jury by Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal on February 21. Tina Fontaine’s death drew national attention and highlighted the need for a national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“My thoughts are with the family of Tina Fontaine and we stand with them today in their continued calls for justice,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart.  “We must learn from this tragedy and we must all demand action now to ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls. We stand with the family and we reiterate our calls for the National Inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women to focus on families throughout all its work and to not wait for its work to be complete. We need to see immediate action to prevent further violence and to support all families at risk.”

First Nations have called for changes to the systems that continue to fail First Nations and fail the entire country. Immediate action is required to ensure Indigenous representation on juries and to support First Nations approaches to justice, including restorative justice.

The AFN continues to call for a national action plan to provide safety and security for Indigenous women and girls that would include shelters and safe spaces, education and training, transportation, daycare and other supports. Action is also required by federal, provincial and territorial governments to stop discrimination against First Nations children in care and work with First Nations to reform the child welfare system. A resolution from the AFN December 2017 Special Chiefs Assembly calls for the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to reorient its mandate to investigate police services and to take a “families first” approach.

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)
jamiem@afn.ca

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

read more
Angie TurnerBroken Systems Failed Tina Fontaine – Murder Trial Verdict Another Severe Setback for Justice and Reconciliation

Educators from Across Canada to Gather for National First Nations Directors of Education Forum: AFN National Chief to Provide Opening Remarks

on February 20, 2018

February 20, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY

(Ottawa, ON):  Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will make opening remarks at the start of a two-day national forum on First Nations education.

DATE: Wednesday February 21, 2018
TIME: 9:00 a.m. ET
LOCATION: Mozart Room, Hilton Lac Leamy
3 Boulevard du Casino, Gatineau, QC

Hosted this year on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation, the First Nations Directors of Education National Forum runs February 21-22.  It will bring together more than 500 First Nations directors of education, educators, government officials and leaders for professional development and to share perspectives and engage in critical dialogue.

National Chief Bellegarde will speak to the opportunity for change while honouring the past in the path toward First Nations control of First Nations education.

Under the theme Honouring our Traditions, Soaring to our Potential, the Forum will host four sets of breakout sessions and two panel discussions focused on First Nations education.  Ashley Callingbull, the first Indigenous Mrs. Universe and a strong advocate motivational speaker will give a keynote speech on Wednesday.

For more information see the provisional agenda:  http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-01-29-National-Forum-Agenda-V8.pdf

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates and #Fairness4kids

―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

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer – Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 mobile
jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckEducators from Across Canada to Gather for National First Nations Directors of Education Forum: AFN National Chief to Provide Opening Remarks

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says New Approach for Rights Implementation Essential, First Nations Engagement Crucial

on February 15, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau of a new approach to rights recognition and implementation to be developed “in full partnership” with First Nations, including new mechanisms to recognize First Nations systems of governance and ensure consistent, meaningful implementation of Treaties and other agreements.

“Today the Prime Minister of Canada signaled a government-wide shift and a new approach to the recognition and full implementation of First Nations rights that will be developed in full partnership with First Nations before the next election,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Our rights are a reality that has been denied for too long, resulting in conflict and court battles for enforcement of our inherent rights, Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. This is an opportunity to move into a new era of recognition, with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as our framework for reconciliation. Recognizing and implementing our rights is directly connected to closing the gap for our peoples. The key will be walking this road together.”

Prime Minister Trudeau announced today Canada will develop a new approach towards the full recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights. The Prime Minister noted new legislation and policy would make the recognition and implementation of rights the basis for all relations between First Nations and the federal government. He laid out a timeline beginning with engagement that will continue throughout the spring, introduction of the framework for rights recognition this year, and implementation to take place before the next election.

National Chief Bellegarde added: “It was important to hear the Prime Minister repeat his government’s support for Bill C-262. That legislation is supported by First Nations, human rights advocates and many organizations that have fought for decades to see Indigenous rights realized and we are looking forward to seeing it completed.

The National Chief also noted the Prime Minister’s commitment, in the wake of the Colten Boushie trial to reforms to the justice system, including how juries are selected.

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
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

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

 

read more
Angie TurnerAFN National Chief Bellegarde Says New Approach for Rights Implementation Essential, First Nations Engagement Crucial

Proposed Changes to Environmental Assessments Welcomed, Continued Engagement with First Nations Required

on February 9, 2018

February 8, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today welcomed proposed new legislation on environmental assessments, stating that with full and effective engagement with First Nations the AFN will seek every opportunity to further improve it prior to its implementation.

“Several of the priorities expressed and the input shared by First Nations is reflected in the proposed legislation announced by the federal government today,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “In particular we welcome the positive steps taken to include the recognition of rights, early and ongoing engagement with First Nations, and the mandatory requirement to consider Indigenous traditional knowledge as part of the environmental review process, as well as respect for cultural impacts. There is always room for improvement and with the full engagement of First Nations, we will seek every opportunity to further improve this proposed legislation, including ensuring its consistency with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Federal environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced the plans to overhaul the environmental assessment process at a press conference in Ottawa this morning.  It is part of a federal review involving four pieces of legislation, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), the National Energy Board (NEB), the Fisheries Act (FA) and the Navigation Protection Plan (NPA).

“As part of our commitment toward collaboration and advocacy, AFN will continue to enable direct First Nation involvement in shaping legislative amendments and the co-development of policies and regulations,” said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek.

Proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act were announced separately Tuesday by Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Dominic LeBlanc.  Changes include restoring lost protections in the 2012-13 omnibus bills, protecting all fish, fish habitat, bio-diversity and the inclusion of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge to inform decisions that impact fish and fish habitat under the Act.

Chiefs from across Canada will gather May 1-2in Gatineau for an AFN Special Chiefs Assembly for a dialogue and review of federal legislation.

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
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckProposed Changes to Environmental Assessments Welcomed, Continued Engagement with First Nations Required

Statement from National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Second Reading of Bill 262, An Act to Harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

on February 8, 2018

February 8, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde released the following statement following the second reading of Bill 262 – an Act to harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Yesterday, a crucial step towards reconciliation was taken as Bill C-262 passed second reading in Canada’s Parliament.

Reconciliation is a non-partisan issue. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a central part of reconciliation. First Nations and Canadians support legislation to implement the UN Declaration. All parliamentarians should be part of this act of reconciliation as a matter of human rights.

Bill C-262 would require the federal government to take concrete action with First Nations to co-develop a national action plan and work together to ensure the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.

Bill C-262 is about working together to build a stronger country for all of us. We look forward to ongoing dialogue with First Nations and Canadians as we work towards the adoption of this Bill.”

 

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
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell) or jyoung@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckStatement from National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Second Reading of Bill 262, An Act to Harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Immediate Relief Essential in Moving Forward on Child Welfare Reform; CHRT Issues Fourth Ruling to Canada

on February 1, 2018

February 1, 2018

February 1,2018
CHRT Decision

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today said immediate relief for First Nations children and families must be the next urgent step in child welfare reform, and the Government of Canada must work together with First Nations to uphold the fourth and most recent compliance order by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

“Nothing short of immediate action will suffice at this point,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “Our children deserve justice and fairness. We need immediate relief for children in care and we must stop ripping families apart – not tomorrow, not in six months, not in one year but today.  First Nations are ready to move. This latest Tribunal order clearly states that Canada has to stop stalling and making excuses for inaction. Children are being apprehended every day.  Every day matters in this struggle for our children. The Government of Canada must respect the orders of its own Human Rights Tribunal.”

In a decision released by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal today, the Government of Canada is once again being ordered to address several aspects of funding for First Nation child welfare agencies with the goal of eliminating racial discrimination against First Nation children in Canada. The Tribunal noted that the manner in which Canada limits funding for prevention services is not an acceptable fiscal or social policy and is harming First Nations children as a result.

“The focus has to be on prevention and keeping First Nations children with their families and in their communities whenever possible,” said National Chief Bellegarde, who last week challenged the federal government, provinces and territories to work together with First Nations on child welfare reform during an emergency meeting called by Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott. “This latest order has to be the catalyst for action and change.”

This latest decision by the Human Rights Tribunal is the fourth in the past two years calling on the federal government to stop discriminating against First Nations children. In May 2017 the Tribunal ordered Canada to fully implement Jordan’s Principle by applying it to all First Nations children in need of care, regardless of where they reside, and set out a number of directives and timelines for Canada to comply.  Two previous non-compliance orders were issued by the Tribunal in April 2016 and September 2016.

The AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society jointly filed the complaint with the Tribunal in February 2007, alleging the provision of First Nations child and family services by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs was flawed, inequitable and thus discriminatory under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

February 1,2018
CHRT Decision

 

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. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
jamiem@afn.ca

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

read more
Roy WhiteduckImmediate Relief Essential in Moving Forward on Child Welfare Reform; CHRT Issues Fourth Ruling to Canada
Assembly of First Nations
    ×