News

First Nations Forum to Address Housing & Infrastructure Crisis

on October 31, 2017

October 30, 2017

(Montreal, QC) – Experts in housing and infrastructure will gather in Montreal, QC today through Wednesday to collaborate on First Nations-led solutions to the housing and infrastructure crisis facing many First Nations. The Forum provides an opportunity for First Nations leaders and experts to collaborate and discuss ways to tackle this critical area of immediate need and to showcase innovative models and new approaches in housing and infrastructure.

“All children deserve to live in healthy homes and healthy communities,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “The goal of this Forum is to bring First Nations together to determine how to realize First Nations care and control of quality housing and infrastructure, and look at solutions to housing and infrastructure deficits from a First Nations perspective. Safe and reliable housing and infrastructure contributes to the personal, social, cultural and economic well-being of First Nations families and builds stronger communities and a stronger country for all of us.”

Census data released by Statistics Canada last week reinforces what First Nations leaders have been saying for many years about the need for investments in housing and infrastructure. One quarter of the First Nations population lives in a home that is in need of major repairs, with 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as a major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing, with the on-reserve rate at 36.8 per cent.

“There is a need for a substantial investment in housing and infrastructure to end the crisis and support First Nations goals for care and control over First Nations housing and infrastructure, which is essential for a better future,” said National Chief Bellegarde.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the Water, Housing and Infrastructure portfolio for AFN, stated: “The status quo for First Nations is not acceptable. We cannot continue to live in third world conditions with communities that do not have proper infrastructure and safe drinking water. Housing needs in First Nations continues to be at crisis levels with the prevalence of mold, lack of housing and overcrowding being a daily challenge. Canada must make the required investments now. These investments will directly benefit First Nations who face significant housing and infrastructure gaps. This is our opportunity to lead this transformative change.”

The full Forum agenda is available online: http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Housing-Forum-Provisional-Agenda_EN.pdf

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

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For more information, please contact:

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 WhiteduckFirst Nations Forum to Address Housing & Infrastructure Crisis

Assembly of First Nations 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum ‘Moving Towards First Nations Care and Control of Housing and Infrastructure’

on October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY

(Montreal, QC): The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will convene a national Housing and Infrastructure Forum to be held October 30 – November 1 in Montreal, Quebec. The Forum provides an opportunity for First Nations leaders and experts to dialogue ways to tackle this area of critical need and showcase innovative models and new approaches in housing, infrastructure and drinking water.

Delegates will discuss the concept of a First Nations National Housing and Infrastructure Strategy, and options for First Nations care and control of housing and infrastructure. This is a long-standing and urgent priority. Census data released by Statistics Canada this week indicates that one quarter of the First Nations population lives in a house that is in need of major repairs, with 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as another major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing, with those on-reserves at a rate of 36.8 per cent.

DATE: Monday, October 30 to Wednesday, November 1, 2017

LOCATION: Fairmont Queen Elizabeth 900 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, QC

The 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum is open to media and to the public.

The full Forum agenda is available online: http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Housing-Forum-Provisional-Agenda_EN.pdf

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

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For more information, please contact:

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

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

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations 2017 National Housing & Infrastructure Forum ‘Moving Towards First Nations Care and Control of Housing and Infrastructure’

2016 Census Demonstrates Urgency of First Nations Priorities, says AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde

on October 26, 2017

October 25, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s release of census information by Statistics Canada demonstrates the urgent need to invest in a young and rapidly growing First Nations population, which increased by 39.3 per cent in the last ten years.

“These statistics are a compelling reminder that our young and booming population must be given hope and opportunity and supported through significant, sustained investments in their future,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “It is clear once again that our future is Canada’s future, and healthy, strong First Nations people are essential to a healthy, strong Canada. The average age of our people is 30 years old and these results show the urgent need for continued investments in education and training. It also shows the need to address the stark social-economic conditions facing our people. That is the way to unlock the untapped potential for the benefit of First Nations and all Canadians.”

The report shows that one quarter of First Nations people live in a house that is in need of major repairs, including 44.2 per cent of them on-reserve. Over-crowding was identified as another major problem with one quarter of First Nations people living in crowded housing with those on-reserves at a rate of 36.8 per cent.

The report also reveals that more than 70 Aboriginal languages are spoken across Canada with a total of 260,550 Aboriginal language speakers, an increase of 3.1 per cent since 2006. 

AFN National Chief Bellegarde said, “Several of the 70 languages still spoken can survive but none are safe and interventions and supports for all languages and all ages are necessary. Now is the time for the Indigenous Languages Act to ensure the ‘preservation, protection, and revitalization’ of First Nations languages.”

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
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
agaron@afn.ca

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy Whiteduck2016 Census Demonstrates Urgency of First Nations Priorities, says AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER FOR ELECTION OF NATIONAL CHIEF – JULY 2018

on October 20, 2017

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national representative organization of First Nations people in Canada. The AFN represents and advocates First Nations interests for more than 600 First Nations from across the country.

The AFN invites qualified individuals to submit proposals to provide Chief Electoral Officer services for the upcoming 2018 election for the Office of National Chief.

In accordance with the AFN Charter, Article 22 Section 1:

The National Chief shall be elected by First Nations-in-Assembly by a majority of 60% of the registered representatives of First Nations at an Assembly convened for the purpose of electing a National Chief.

The National Chief shall be elected for a three-year term.

Click here for the full RFP

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Roy WhiteduckREQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER FOR ELECTION OF NATIONAL CHIEF – JULY 2018

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Offers Condolences on the Passing of Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith

on October 20, 2017

October 19, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today offered his condolences to the family, community and Yukon First Nations on the passing of AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith, Shakuni, who served as AFN representative for the Yukon region since 2012.

“It is with a heavy heart that we learn of the loss of Shakuni – AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is a loss to the AFN, the Yukon territory and First Nations across the country. Regional Chief Smith was a dedicated and diligent member of the AFN Executive Committee who ensured the priorities of Yukon First Nations were represented at the national level. Regional Chief Smith was a sharp legal mind and a strong advocate for First Nations rights and First Nations jurisdiction. I will miss his contributions, insight and leadership. My heart goes out to his family and community. We have lost a man who always fought for the goals and interests of his people.”

Shakuni, Mike Smith, was instrumental in spearheading the land claim of Yukon First Nations people and was a signatory as Chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement. He was a Chair of the Council of Yukon Indians, now the Council of Yukon First Nations. He served two terms as AFN Yukon Regional Chief, where he was a strong advocate for modern Treaties and self-determination, northern strategies and issues, and First Nations citizenship.

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

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

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

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Offers Condolences on the Passing of Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Honours Memory of Gord Downie – Wicapi Omani, “Walks Among the Stars”, Offers Condolences to Family

on October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde today honoured the memory of Gord Downie as an artist and advocate who made a great personal effort to advance reconciliation and raise awareness of First Nations issues in Canada.

“I honour the life and work of Gord Downie, a dedicated and accomplished artist who used his profile to advance reconciliation and build support for First Nations peoples,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Gord had the ability to reach people who might not be otherwise engaged in our issues. This was a tremendous personal effort on his part, one that illustrates his commitment to justice and his belief that every Canadian has a role to play in reconciliation.”

“I will always be moved by the powerful moment last December at our Assembly when we honoured Gord for his work, and gave him the Lakota name Wicapi Omani – Walks Among the Stars. Today, he begins a new journey among the stars, but his music, his art, his work and his memory will always be with us. I convey my deepest respect and send sincere condolences to his family and his partners in music and in life,” National Chief Bellegarde added.

In December 2016 at the AFN’s Special Chiefs Assembly, AFN National Chief Bellegarde and his wife Valerie wrapped Gord Downie in a starblanket in the presence of Elders and Chiefs, Grand Chiefs, First Nations youth and other delegates. The starblanket is bestowed to demonstrate respect and admiration for an individual. It is wrapped around someone to convey protection, warmth, love and family. The naming ceremony followed the bestowing of an eagle feather, a high honour given as Gord was named Wicapi Omani, Lakota for “Walks Among the Stars.”

AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo said, “This is a very sad day. I want to extend my sincere condolences to Gord’s family. Canadians and Indigenous people have been so blessed that he gave us the last moments of his life. It is extraordinary that he shared his commitment to ‘do something’ and raise awareness for Indigenous inequalities. Most people, when faced with seeing their end, would not be so generous but it was clear to everyone Gord had an important legacy to fulfil. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I hope that they are comforted with the knowledge that Creator and all Indigenous people will be sending their prayers to them. Wela’lin, Gord.”

Along with many initiatives, Gord Downie spearheaded his multi-media project The Secret Path, a book, album and animated film based on Gord’s poems and music about Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year old Anishinaabe (Ojibway) boy who died trying to make his way home after running away from a residential school in northern Ontario. The project helped advance the discussion of Canada’s history and the need for reconciliation. Proceeds from the Secret Path album and graphic novel are donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. In June of this year, Gord was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations 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
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 WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Honours Memory of Gord Downie – Wicapi Omani, “Walks Among the Stars”, Offers Condolences to Family

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Meeting with National Congress of American Indians to Build Support for Indigenous Rights in NAFTA

on October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde will speak at the annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) on Tuesday, October 17 to build support for an Indigenous Chapter in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will ensure First Nations rights are respected and upheld in any new agreement. The NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the United States.

“I want to bring the message to our brothers and sisters south of the border – a border that we did not create – that we can stand together to uphold our rights in our homelands,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “First Nations were here before the borders, with our own treaties guiding territorial control, trade, and diplomatic relations. Today, international agreements can affect our lands, our lives, and our abilities to trade and visit with one another. Our inherent rights, Treaty rights and international rights in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be respected throughout the negotiations and in any final agreement. The NCAI has indicated it supports an Indigenous Chapter in NAFTA and I look forward to meeting with them to discuss next steps.”

National Chief Bellegarde is an advisor on Canada’s NAFTA Council and led the call for an Indigenous Chapter in a new agreement. Canada has agreed to support this. An Indigenous Chapter would, among other things, protect Indigenous rights; ensure Indigenous representation from all three NAFTA parties; improve economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples; and include a mandate to implement the obligations of the chapter. The National Chief wants language clearly stating that nothing in NAFTA prevents Canada from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to Indigenous peoples.

“Protecting First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights in NAFTA is of the upmost importance and that is why I agreed to be a member of the NAFTA Council,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “I am meeting with the NCAI to ensure we protect and respect the rights of all the First Peoples of Turtle Island. The three countries in these negotiations have all endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and must honour it in the negotiations and the outcomes.”

The National Congress of American Indians 74th Annual Convention and Marketplace takes place October 15-20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Delegates and observers will gather under the theme “We are Strong Nations.”  The NCAI was founded in 1944.

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
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

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Meeting with National Congress of American Indians to Build Support for Indigenous Rights in NAFTA

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Newly Elected AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Terry Teegee

on October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today congratulated the new AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Terry Teegee who was elected yesterday at the AFN B.C. 14th Annual General Meeting in Vancouver.

“I want to congratulate AFN B.C. Regional Chief Terry Teegee – Maxweeum Tsimghee – on behalf of the entire AFN National Executive,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Regional Chief Teegee has an impressive history of leadership for the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, for First Nations in B.C. and First Nations across the country. His political background is complemented by his deep understanding of science, forestry and the land, and he has been a strong voice for First Nations rights. I look forward to working with him as part of our National Executive. I want to thank Chief Maureen Chapman for her dedication and energy during her time as Acting B.C. Regional Chief.”

Regional Chief Teegee is a member of the Takla Lake First Nation and served as the elected Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council since 2012.

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

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Newly Elected AFN British Columbia Regional Chief Terry Teegee

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says The Sixties Scoop Survivors Deserve Justice, Healing and Compensation

on October 10, 2017

October 6, 2017

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Canada’s agreement in principle announced today to compensate survivors of the Sixties Scoop is a step forward towards healing and reconciliation; however, it can never undo the loss of identity, language and culture experienced by thousands of First Nations Peoples across the country.

“Children of the Sixties Scoop deserve justice and healing,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “We acknowledge the efforts of Canada to provide compensation but only the individuals affected can determine whether or not this settlement meets their needs. The courts of Canada can never compensate, in any amount, the loss of family, community, identity, language and culture. True justice means creating hope and opportunity for the Survivors.”

The Sixties Scoop was an ongoing practice in the 1960s and ‘70s that saw the removal of large numbers of First Nations children from their families and communities and placed them in the care of Canadian and International foster or adoptive homes.

Today’s announcement of a negotiated settlement follows a recent Superior Court of Ontario decision that focused on approximately 16,000 people who were children of the Sixties Scoop in the province. This decision set a precedent for similar cases across the country. Further, it stated that Canada breached its common law duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent on-reserve children in Ontario, who had been placed in the care of non-Indigenous foster or adoptive parents, from losing their Indigenous identity.

The AFN supported the Sixties Scoop class action, and in 2009 Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN resolution (Class Action Support Resolution re: 60’s Scoop, 16-2009) supporting the class action and the relief claimed, as commenced by Chief Marcia Brown Martel of Beaverhouse First Nation and Robert Commanda on behalf of First Nations peoples and communities in Canada affected by the ‘Sixties Scoop’.

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
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (cell)
agaron@afn.ca

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says The Sixties Scoop Survivors Deserve Justice, Healing and Compensation

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on the Rights of Former Residential Schools Students: ‘Their Testimony Must Be Respected’

on October 10, 2017

October 6, 2017

(Ottawa, ON) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today’s Supreme Court of Canada’s decision ensures the rights of former residential school students are respected as part of the continuing work towards justice, healing and reconciliation.

On October 6, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by Canada to take full control of sensitive documents and transcripts created by individuals who participated in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. These documents outline abuses individuals suffered, as well as how the Indian Residential School experience affected their lives into adulthood.

“Individual testimony belongs to each individual. This is a good and fair decision by the Supreme Court today,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Each individual has the right to decide if their personal stories and experiences told during the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) are made public or kept private. This is especially true in these situations, where the testimony deals with very personal experiences of trauma and abuse. Many former students shared their stories on the understanding that the IAP hearing was private and confidential. This must be respected.”

Northwest Territories Regional Chief Bill Erasmus who holds the portfolio for Indian Residential Schools for the AFN also expressed his endorsement of the Supreme Court’s decision. “The AFN has always advanced the proposition that only students of Indian Residential Schools have full and complete control over their experiences and testimonies. The Supreme Court of Canada has now endorsed AFN’s position. Any attempt to access IAP records will now require the express written consent of the individual concerned.”

On June 21, 2017 National Chief Bellegarde sent a letter to the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Carolyn Bennett to request resources for former residential school students to discuss this matter and to ensure they have an opportunity to meet with the Minister.

During the July 2017 Annual General Assembly, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed Resolution no. 39/2017, Support for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). Resolution 39/2017 directed the AFN to work with the NCTR and other parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to advance NCTR’s mandate, including public education on the devastating impacts Indian Residential Schools had on First Nation families and communities.

The AFN will continue to ensure the rights of former students are respected in accordance with the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS) and will continue to work towards justice, healing and reconciliation.

The AFN will also work with the NCTR and the other parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to advance NCTR’s mandate.

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
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

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 254
613-299-6330 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on the Rights of Former Residential Schools Students: ‘Their Testimony Must Be Respected’
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