News

MAJOR WIN FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

on September 30, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald acknowledges the victory for children and families with the Federal Court of Canada’s decision to uphold the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s (CHRT) compensation award to First Nations children and families that were apprehended under the First Nations child and family services program. The Federal Court also upheld the CHRT’s ruling regarding the application of Jordan’s Principle to all First Nations children who are recognized by their Nation as citizens, regardless of their Indian Act status or where they live. This is the result of a years-long dispute between Canada and the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

“This is justice in action for First Nations children and families, however, nothing can replace the childhoods and connections to languages, lands and loved ones stolen by Canada’s discrimination. We have repeatedly made a reasonable and fair request that Canada stop fighting our kids in court not only for the sake of truth and reconciliation but also for the healing path forward,” said National Chief RoseAnne Archibald.

In 2007, the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society launched a complaint at the CHRT alleging discrimination against First Nations children and families in Canada’s provision of First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) and Jordan’s Principle. In January 2016, the CHRT found that Canada was in fact discriminating against First Nations children and families in its provision and funding of the FNCFS Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle, and ordered Canada to completely reform its FNCFS Program and fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

In September 2019, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay compensation to eligible First Nations children and their parents and/or grandparents affected by Canada’s discrimination; in October 2019, Canada filed for a Judicial Review of this order. Then, in July 2020, the CHRT issued a ruling clarifying who is eligible for consideration under Jordan’s Principle, and confirmed this in November 2020; Canada filed for Judicial Review of this order in December 2020. The Honourable Justice Paul Favel heard arguments from the parties to the CHRT regarding the compensation order and Jordan’s Principle eligibility in June 2021.

This decision acknowledges the harm caused by Canada’s discrimination and affirms that First Nations children and families deserve justice. This monumental decision came one day before Orange Shirt Day, now also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

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

 

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Contact information: 

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckMAJOR WIN FOR FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

AFN NATIONAL CHIEF ROSEANNE ARCHIBALD ACKNOWLEDGES NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

on September 30, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Today, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald acknowledges the importance of Orange Shirt Day, urging all Canadians to spend September 30 reflecting on how to contribute to the healing path forward from the harms of the institutions of assimilation and genocide.  Orange Shirt Day, recently designated National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the federal government, honours the First Nations and Indigenous children forced into these institutions which resulted in thousands of children’s deaths.

“Today, and every day, I stand in support of Survivors and intergenerational trauma Survivors,” said National Chief Archibald. “I honour September 30 as a day of remembrance and grief, and I lift up Phyllis Webstad. She was a young First Nations girl, who had her shiny, new orange shirt taken from her upon arriving at a institution known as the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. She survived the institution, told her story and in 2013, the orange shirt campaign to commemorate all of the Survivors was launched in Williams Lake. Today and every day, let’s hold a vision of happy healthy children surrounded by the love and care of their families in safe, vibrant communities.  Every child matters and our little ones have an inherent right to safety, love and happiness. I also welcome the designation of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to remind all Canadians of the harms done to our little ones.”

In August of this year, the federal government declared September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This Act fulfills Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #80: “We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

A national crisis line for Residential Institution Survivors is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residential School Survivor Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

 

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

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Contact information: 

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN NATIONAL CHIEF ROSEANNE ARCHIBALD ACKNOWLEDGES NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

The Federal Court of Canada Upholds the CHRT’s Ruling in Full

on September 29, 2021

SUMMARY: 

    • On September 29, 2021, the Federal Court of Canada upheld the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s(CHRT) 2019 ruling ordering $40,000 in compensation for First Nations children and families.
    • The Federal Court also agreed with the CHRT that all First Nations children should be eligible for Jordan’s Principle, regardless of their Indian Act status or where they live.
    • Today’s decision acknowledges the harm caused by Canada’s discrimination and affirms that First Nations children and families deserve justice. This monumental decision comes one day before Orange Shirt Day, now also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Today, the Federal Court of Canada issued a decision to uphold the CHRT’s 2019 order for compensation for First Nations children and families harmed by Canada’s discriminatory practices in the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program and failure to uphold Jordan’s Principle. It also upheld the CHRT’s 2020 order for the application of Jordan’s Principle to all First Nations children who are recognized by their First Nation government as citizens, regardless of their Indian Act status or where they live.

In 2007, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society launched a complaint at the CHRT alleging discrimination against First Nations children and families in Canada’s provision of FNCFS and Jordan’s Principle. In January 2016, the CHRT found that Canada was in fact discriminating against First Nations children and families in its provision and funding of the FNCFS Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. The CHRT ordered Canada to immediately and completely overhaul the FNCFS Program and address the discriminatory funding that led to crisis levels of First Nations children in the child and family services system, and to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

In September 2019, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay $40,000 in compensation to First Nations children, parents and/or grandparents (if the primary caregiver) affected by Canada’s discriminatory funding of the FNCFS Program and narrow application of Jordan’s Principle. This is the maximum allowable amount under section 53(2)(e) and 53(3) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (1985). The parties to the CHRT (the AFN, Caring Society and Canada, in consultation with Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Chiefs of Ontario and the Canadian Human Rights Commission) were ordered to work together to propose a framework for compensation. In February 2021, the CHRT approved the Framework for the Payment of Compensation under 2019 CHRT 39.

In July 2020, the CHRT issued a ruling clarifying who is eligible for consideration under Jordan’s Principle, including children who would become eligible for Indian Act status under the implementation of Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux c. Canada (Procureur général). In November 2020, the CHRT confirmed this definition of eligibility, and Jordan’s Principle now applies to First Nations children who:

  • Are registered or eligible to be registered under the Indian Act;
  • Have one parent or guardian who is registered or eligible to be registered under the Indian Act;
  • Is recognized by their Nation for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle; or
  • Is ordinarily resident on reserve.

In October 2019, Canada filed for a Judicial Review of the CHRT’s compensation order. In December 2020, Canada filed for a Judicial Review of the CHRT’s Jordan’s Principle eligibility order. In June 2021, the Honourable Justice Paul Favel heard arguments from the parties to the CHRT regarding the compensation order and Jordan’s Principle eligibility.

Today’s decision acknowledges the harm caused by Canada’s discrimination and affirms that First Nations children and families deserve justice. This monumental decision comes one day before Orange Shirt Day, now also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

More information will be available soon on the AFN website: www.afn.ca

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Roy WhiteduckThe Federal Court of Canada Upholds the CHRT’s Ruling in Full

AFN NATIONAL CHIEF ROSEANNE ARCHIBALD LOOKS FORWARD TO BUILDING THE HEALING PATH FORWARD WITH RE-ELECTED PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

on September 21, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald congratulates newly re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada on achieving a minority government in the 44th federal election.

“I offer congratulations to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal Party on their re-election,” said National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Liberal government and all parties to address First Nations priorities as set out in the Healing Path Forward platform, while continuing to make transformative change for our children, communities and Nations.”

The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations platform outlines the priority areas for strengthening, rebuilding and healing First Nations. The document identifies a series of commitments federal parties must make to First Nations to strengthen relationships and build a stronger Canada.

“I recognize every First Nation citizen who chose whether to vote in this election or not and offer my sincerest congratulations to all of the Indigenous candidates – you’ve made us all proud,” said National Chief Archibald. “There is a healing path forward and we can get there by working together. I committed to working with all parties after the election to ensure that Canada guarantees equality and equity as we heal, as we rebuild and strengthen First Nations.”

For more information on The Healing Path Forward, and other information on First Nations priorities and concerns, please visit the AFN website: https://www.afn.ca/the-healing-path-forward/.

 

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

 

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Contact information:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN NATIONAL CHIEF ROSEANNE ARCHIBALD LOOKS FORWARD TO BUILDING THE HEALING PATH FORWARD WITH RE-ELECTED PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

AFN National Chief Archibald launches a strategic direction toward positive and evolutionary change for First Nations and all Canadians in “The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations”

on August 31, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Today, The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald launched “The Healing Path Forward,” a platform outlining the priority areas for strengthening, rebuilding and healing First Nations. The document identifies a series of commitments federal parties must make to First Nations in order to strengthen relationships and pursue nation-building.

“On behalf of the AFN Executive Committee, I am pleased to relay the priorities of First Nations for the next general government, which offers a strategic direction toward positive and evolutionary change for First Nations and all Canadians,” said National Chief Archibald. “These priorities are set out in The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations. First Nations priorities are an integral part of the national electoral narrative and should be top of mind for all the candidates and party platforms.”

National Chief Archibald detailed the following five priorities as part of The Healing Path Forward, asking that the next federal government commit to taking action in these areas: 

1. Truth, Reconciliation and Healing for First Nations and all Canadians

All levels of government must work with urgency on the issue of the burial sites across this country and in finding ways to heal the trauma that our peoples have experienced for generations. Each party must outline how they will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with First Nations to rebuild, recover, heal and move forward, together.

2. Climate and Conservation Leadership with First Nations

The AFN calls on all political parties and candidates to endorse commitments to reducing emissions, working with First Nations as full and effective partners in the implementation of the Government of Canada’s climate plan and related decision-making processes, and supporting the application of First Nations knowledge, among other things.

3. Economic Growth, Prosperity and Wealth Building for First Nations

The economic impacts of the pandemic were devastating for many. First Nations, already among the most vulnerable, were particularly hit hard. The pandemic continues to affect new development projects, trade, natural resources development, human resources development, procurement, fisheries, tourism, agriculture, connectivity, transportation, and other sectors. Sustained investments are needed to support growth and sustainability.

4. Promoting Peace by Respecting First Nations’ Jurisdiction

It is time that Canada’s promises were made concrete through commitments to recognize, respect and promote First Nations rights while, at the same time, providing justice for First Nations citizens, both within Canada’s legal framework and through the recognition of First Nations laws.

5. Rebuilding and Strengthening First Nations

With respect to the many sectors that First Nations administer, the AFN calls on all political parties and candidates to endorse self-government, UNDRIP, Treaty rights, land rights and title, child wellbeing, and other facets of self-determination and success.

“According to our internal polling, the Canadian electorate is more engaged and supportive of our priorities than ever before. Our research further indicates that First Nations voters will make a significant impact on the results of this election,” said National Chief Archibald.

“I commit to working with all parties after the election to ensure that Canada does all it can to support healing and justice for our children. I know that all Canadians share in our vision of happy healthy children surrounded by the love and care of their families living in vibrant and safe communities. Strengthening and rebuilding First Nations will result in a strong, fair and better Canada for all of us. I call on all federal political parties – and all Canadians – to commit to a Healing Path Forward.”

“The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations” document, and other information on First Nations priorities and concerns, can be found on the AFN’s website at https://www.afn.ca/the-healing-path-forward/.

 

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

 

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Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Archibald launches a strategic direction toward positive and evolutionary change for First Nations and all Canadians in “The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations”

AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to Present 2021 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada

on August 30, 2021

(Ottawa, ON):  The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald will publicly release The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada, at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The document sets out First Nations priorities for the upcoming federal election and seeks specific commitments from all parties.

DATE: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
TIME: 11:00 a.m. ET
LOCATION: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89176539644

As part of her platform The Healing Path Forward, the National Chief will speak to the importance of First Nations priorities as Canada’s priorities, and the significance of First Nations voters in the upcoming election.

National Chief Archibald was elected in July 2021 by the AFN Chiefs and proxies and is now the first woman elected to the National Chief position. Previously, National Chief Archibald held the position of Ontario Regional Chief.

 

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
Assembly of First Nations
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to Present 2021 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada

AFN BULLETIN – August 18, 2021 – 44th General Federal Election

on August 18, 2021
SUMMARY: 
    • The 44th General Federal Election is taking place on September 20, 2021.
    • The AFN is providing information to help make the voter registration and voting process more accessible for First Nations.
    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, early voter registration and voting by mail-in special ballot is encouraged.
    • First Nations and Elections Canada Returning Officers are urged to communicate to establish electoral health and safety measures, and polling station locations.
    • Band administrators are reminded to issue a Letter of Confirmation of Residence to community members without a proof of address.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is working together with Elections Canada to eliminate barriers to First Nations’ participation in the federal election. As such, the AFN is officially notifying First Nations that the 44th General Election will take place on September 20, 2021.

The AFN encourages First Nations and Elections Canada Returning Officers to work together to determine polling station locations, and how to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures at the polls. Get contact information for your community’s Returning Officer and make a request to set up polling stations by contacting Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.

The AFN also reminds First Nations of the opportunity for community members to get involved in the electoral process. A number of seasonal employment opportunities are available online now at elections.ca/jobs.

Registering to vote

Early voter registration helps to avoid long wait times on election day and reduce crowds which could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, early voter registration is encouraged.

People who register early will receive a Voter Information Card (VIC) from Elections Canada in the mail. The VIC can be used as a proof of address for individuals when paired with another piece of accepted ID, such as a status card.

Here are five quick and easy ways community members can register to vote:

Method 1: Register online.

Method 2: Register by regular mail or telephone. Review Elections Canada contact information.

Note: We encourage voters who wish to register by mail and First Nations communities that plan to register multiple citizens in the same mail-out to act as early as possible, to allow Elections Canada enough time to process requests.

Method 3: Register at their local Elections Canada office.

Method 4: Register at their polling place when they go to vote. Although we strongly recommend early registration via the above options, voters can still choose to register at their polling places as a last-minute option.

  • Option 1: Register to vote by bringing the required ID to an advance polling location.
  • Option 2: Ifa voter is unsure about their registration status on Election Day, they can still go to a polling station on Election Day with the appropriate ID and register and vote on location.

Voting by mail

Voting by mail is the safest way to vote. Here are the steps:

  1. Submit an Applicationfor Registration (by methods 1, 2, or 3 above).
  2. Apply for a special ballot.
  3. Voters will receive a special ballot voting kit by mail that explains how to mark their ballot and mail it back.

Note: Voters will need to write the first and last name of their chosen candidate for their riding on the ballot. If they only write the party, or the party leader, the ballot will not be counted. Once registered to vote by mail, voters must follow all instructions on completing and returning their ballots before polls close on election day.

  1. If voting in person at an Elections Canada office, voters may drop their envelope in a ballot box.

Letter of Confirmation of Residence

First Nation band offices can help their community members with confirming their address by issuing a Letter of Confirmation of Residence.

A Letter of Confirmation of Residence can be used as ID to validate an elector’s address at the polls when presented alongside a secondary piece of ID verifying their name (for example, a Status card). Template for Letter of Confirmation of Residence.

Vouching

Eligible voters can also establish their identity and address through a process called “vouching,” which involves bringing someone who knows them (like a friend or neighbour) to a polling station to serve as their “voucher.”

The voucher will sign a written document provided by Elections Canada attesting to the voter’s identity and address. Review information on voter ID and vouching.

Sharing election materials

Posting and sharing Elections Canada’s printed materials in your community is a great way to help people know where, when, and ways to vote.

Using the digital order form, you can order materials to be delivered to your community, including Voter ID posters, guidebooks to the federal election, and employment flyers.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email [email protected]. You can find more information on the election on the Elections Canada website, elections.ca.

We thank First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and citizens for their continued interest in the electoral process.

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Sid LeeAFN BULLETIN – August 18, 2021 – 44th General Federal Election

AFN BULLETIN – August 5, 2021 – Lac Seul Wins Supreme Court of Canada Appeal, Decision Sets Precedent for Equitable Compensation

on August 5, 2021

SUMMARY:

  • Lac Seul First Nation has won an appeal to have damages reviewed for historical flooding on its lands and confirming the Crown’s fiduciary duties to Indigenous peoples.
  • The Supreme Court of Canada on July 16, 2021 ruled the Government of Canada breached its fiduciary obligation to protect the reserve land at Lac Seul First Nation when the governments of Canada, Manitoba and Ontario decided without consent or consultation with the community to flood the reserve with the construction of a hydroelectric dam in 1929.
  • More than 11,000 acres of Lac Seul First Nation were flooded, destroying nearly one-fifth of the reserve lands. Homes and fields were destroyed. Graves were submerged and portions of the reserve were severed from one another.
  • In an action initiated by Lac Seul First Nation in 1991, the community claimed damages from the Crown for losses caused to it and its members as a result of the flooding.
  • Lac Seul First Nation is now entitled to equitable compensation for the lost opportunity to determine the use of their land at the time the hydroelectricity project was developed.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Southwind v. Canada on July 16, 2021 marks an historic victory for Lac Seul First Nation located in Treaty 3 territory in northwestern Ontario and has profound implications for specific claims policy reform.
The ruling comes 30 years after Lac Seul First Nation originally filed a claim in Federal Court when one-fifth of the reserve land was flooded as a result of a hydroelectric dam where Lac Seul drains into the English River. This decision could greatly increase compensation owed to First Nations for specific claims related to reserve lands.

The 8-1 ruling confirmed the Crown’s fiduciary duties to Indigenous Peoples and that a previous award of $30 million was insufficient given the extensive damage and loss of land. The case has been ordered back to the Federal Court to reassess the compensation amount.

In the July 2021 ruling, the Supreme Court determined that:

  • The common law principles of expropriation law are not the appropriate framework to determine compensation to a First Nation for breach of fiduciary duty related to reserve land.
  • Reserve land is not a commodity and First Nations’ interests in land are fundamentally different from other Canadians. First Nations have a special relationship with the land, which is at the centre of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Equitable compensation seeks to restore a First Nation to the position it would have been in had the Crown not breached its fiduciary duty. Where restoring or returning the First Nation’s land to its original condition is not possible, equitable compensation must be provided.
  • The Government of Canada had a duty to make the most favourable use of the property it holds in trust for the First Nation. If the government fails to carry out this duty, the courts must seriously consider whether the total award to the First Nation will be an effective deterrent for the government’s conduct, in addition to compensating lost opportunities.
  • The impact of public projects, such as a dam, places a duty on the Government of Canada to capture the full potential value of the land for the land’s intended use.
  • Lac Seul First Nation was entitled to compensation based on the best price that could have been obtained for the land’s use, namely generating hydroelectricity.

The AFN intervened in Southwind v Canada to support the position that First Nations that are harmed when the Government of Canada fails to protect reserve land should be compensated for the land’s original value and the full potential value of the land’s use.

AFN’s Specific Claims Policy Reform Work

For decades, First Nations have advocated for the creation of a fully independent specific claims process to facilitate the resolution of claims.
While the Southwind v. Canada decision went through the Federal Courts, the AFN anticipates implications for the specific claims process. There are claims related to unauthorized use of reserve land across Canada, including 18 specific claims and several civil claims relating to flooding of reserve lands in Treaty 3 where Lac Seul First Nation is located.

The Supreme Court Canada Decision on Southwind v. Canada can be accessed on the Supreme Court of Canada website. You can find information on AFN’s Specific Claims Policy reform work online, and provide input on our proposed claims process.

For more information please contact Jesse Donovan, Policy Analyst, Lands Sector, at [email protected].

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Celso CercadoAFN BULLETIN – August 5, 2021 – Lac Seul Wins Supreme Court of Canada Appeal, Decision Sets Precedent for Equitable Compensation

AFN BULLETIN – Annual General Assembly and National Chief Election 2021 – July 26, 2021

on July 26, 2021

National Chief Election

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs-in-Assembly from across Canada made history earlier this month electing RoseAnne Archibald as the first ever woman National Chief.  Close to 2000 First Nations leaders, Elders, youth, women and veterans gathered for the 42nd Annual General Assembly held virtually and hosted by Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit in Ontario.

National Chief Archibald was elected July 8, 2021 following results of the fifth ballot and after candidate Chief Reginald Bellerose conceded.  406 Chiefs and proxies registered to vote in this AFN election. 350 Chiefs and proxies voted in the fifth ballot. For full election results please visit the AFN website.

A total of seven candidates were nominated for National Chief. RoseAnne Archibald, Reginald Bellerose, Alvin Fiddler, Dr. Cathy Martin, Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse, Kevin T. Hart and Lee Crowchild and participated in an all-candidates forum the evening of July 6. Polls for voting opened the morning after.

Annual General Assembly

The AGA also provided an opportunity for essential business. Chiefs-in-Assembly passed four resolutions during regular AGA proceedings, including AFN Emergency Resolution “Demanding Justice and Accountability for Missing and Unidentified Children of Residential Schools”.  Prior to passing this resolution, Chiefs and delegates observed a moment of silence in honour of all the children who did not return home from Residential Schools.

Other resolutions passed during the AGA include AFN Emergency Resolution “Preliminary Examination of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court” and two separate resolutions related to the AFN Charter in respect to Assembly quorum and creating an AFN regional office for PEI. 

Final resolutions are currently available on the AFN website. Remaining resolutions will be shared with the AFN Executive Committee at their July 28-29 meeting and in accordance with AFN Rules and Procedures.

On the first day of Assembly, former National Chief Perry Bellegarde was honoured by AFN Elder Mike Mitchell who presented him with an Eagle Feather for his leadership and accomplishments in advancing First Nations priorities.

The first-ever virtual AFN Circle of Trade featured Indigenous businesses, organizations and sponsors. AGA delegates took part in virtual presentations and networking opportunities.

The AFN thanks First Nations leadership, delegates and sponsors for participating in the 2021 virtual AGA. We look forward to continuing the important advocacy work to seek justice for our young ones and all our loved ones in ways that will build a future where our people are respected and our nations thrive.

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Roy WhiteduckAFN BULLETIN – Annual General Assembly and National Chief Election 2021 – July 26, 2021

National Chief RoseAnne Archibald Seeks Urgent Action from Federal Government after Release of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Report on Unmarked Graves

on July 15, 2021

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald joined Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, her Council and community, Elders, special guests, and residential school survivors for the announcement of findings from the final report on the recovery of unmarked graves at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

National Chief Archibald released the below statement today:

“I am honoured to have joined the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc leadership, community members and survivors as they announced findings of the report on the recovery of their lost and now recovered little ones. This is an important day for us as First Nations people.  Here in Secwe̓pemc territory, in these sacred lands, Canadians and the world first learned about how 215 innocent children died and were buried in unmarked graves.

For many Canadians and for people around the world, these recent recoveries of our children – buried nameless, unmarked, lost and without ceremony are shocking, and unbelievable. Not for us, we’ve always known.

I ask every Canadian to stand with First Nations as we continue this painful but important work. I ask that you listen, learn and reflect on the history we share as a country. Please continue to call the Prime Minister, your Premier, your MPs and MPPs to demand reparation, justice and action.

The report findings today show that this recovery of our children is not over and there will be many reports to come. This ground-penetrating radar technology is revealing evidence and is undisputable proof that crimes were committed.  Crimes have to be investigated and those guilty must be held to account.

People and media have been referring to them as discoveries. These are NOT ‘discoveries’ – these are ‘recoveries.’ There must be truth before reconciliation. It’s time to find our children and bring them home.

As we continue the painful but essential work of locating and identifying our missing little ones, I urge all levels of government to provide the full breadth of resources and support for any First Nation pursuing investigative efforts.”

On May 28, 2021, the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

Since then, additional remains have been found at Muskowekwan First Nation (35 unmarked graves), Cowessess First Nation (751 unmarked graves), and as of July 13, at Penelakut Island (160 unmarked graves).

National Chief Archibald will continue to meet with Chiefs, survivors and loved ones as she continues her first cross-country tour as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

Contact information:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Office of the National Chief
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

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Sid LeeNational Chief RoseAnne Archibald Seeks Urgent Action from Federal Government after Release of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Report on Unmarked Graves