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 37 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 Elders Council work tirelessly to make significant contributions in the following areas, Lands and Resources/Climate Change, New Governance Relationship/Nation Building, the Health and Well-being of First Nations, First Nation Language’s and also the best effort to communicate the work being done at the national level to the regions in which they represent.
The Elders Council carries forward the collective voices of Elders from each region, together walking on a sacred path for the betterment of First Nations. As an Elders Council, in recognition of those responsibilities to our Nations, the Elders Council will work together for the sacred life of our Nations as guided by the seven sacred teachings.
The Elders Council works to provide support and guidance throughout the AFN and their work is provided through the many activities and issues identified by the Council and the regions they represent.
AFN Elders Council Guidelines and Protocols
To provide guidance and recommendations to the AFN Executive Committee and participate in AFN Assemblies and Executive Committee meetings in an advisory capacity.
The Elders Council works with the AFN’s Women and Youth Councils, by recommending that the AFN Tri-Council meet to determine how each Council can work together to better support each other and the AFN in on-going work. A meeting was held February, 2017 in Winnipeg Manitoba. The goal of the meeting was to identify each Council’s priority areas, to develop work-plans for each Council, and to develop a strategic plan for the Tri-Council.
Together the Tri-Council is increasing efforts in working together in ensuring the women’s, youths and Elders voices are carried throughout the on-going work at the AFN, both nationally and regionally. In order to support each other as a Council, the Elders Council will work towards supporting each of the Councils priority areas as identified within their workplan and to support the AFN’s priority areas.
Next Steps – Moving Forward
The Elders Council will work towards strengthening their regions, communities and people stronger, through their guidance and knowledge as shared through traditions, ceremony and language. The Elders Council will continue to develop their workplan while also keeping in mind the priorities of the Women’s Council, Youth Council and the AFN. Together the Elders will assist in finalizing the Tri-Council’s Strategic Plan furthering the support required amongst the Councils in moving forward. The Elders encourage and welcome meaningful engagement with the Elders Council and government departments. The Elders have a wealth of knowledge to share, that they believe is valuable to the work that’s being done with First Nations and Government.