News

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.

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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.

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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

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)
[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]

For the Chiefs of Ontario:

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

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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

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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.

 

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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 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)
[email protected]

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

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)
[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 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

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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)
[email protected]

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

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